Six months ago David A. Olsen insisted that he was "too young" to be chairman of multinational insurance broker Johnson & Higgins.
The New York-based industry giant announced his election to the throne on Monday.Mr. Olsen, 53, was president and chief operating officer at J&H when he assumed the additional title of chief executive officer on Nov. 1.
The role of chairman of the 7800-employee firm was held by Robert V. Hatcher, Jr., who retired last December.
Johnson & Higgins is privately held and does not report revenue figures, but the company is thought to be the world's fifth largest brokerage firm after the Marsh & McLennan Cos., Sedgwick Group PLC, Alexander & Alexander Services, and Willis Corroon Corp. Mr. Olsen began his insurance career with the Cincinnati-based Great American Insurance Co., where he worked for roughly six years after graduating college. The executive joined J&H in San Francisco in In 1966. He became executive vice president of the parent corporation in 1985, and was promoted to president and chief operating officer a year later.
He was traveling and could not be reached for comment on his new appointment.
In an interview conducted last fall, he said he was fond of working in the brokerage industry because of its inventiveness and diversity.
"Intermediaries have to hustle. They're constantly thinking of ways to solve old and new problems."