I wrote this letter, part of the department’s annual report, in consultation with the Chief of Police of Evanston, Illinois.
2012 Letter from Chief Richard Eddington
March 21, 2013
To the Citizens of Evanston:
This year’s Annual Report has an improved look and feel. It is designed to be more accessible and attractive. The differences start with the cover. In the recent past we’ve shown photos of various badges; this year we’ve replaced them with our police patch, which symbolizes the unity of the entire department. Within this letter, hot links have been included for the reader’s convenience.
2012 was a year of challenges and accomplishments. In the first category was the continuing gun violence that has plagued urban centers across the country, which in Evanston led to three homicides. Two of them involved young people under the age of 21, compounding the tragedy and sense of loss shared by the whole community.
For many years I wrote the editorial sections of the Allstate annual report, including the letter to shareholders from the chairman. Here’s the letter from 1998.
This is my first letter to shareholders as chairman, president and chief executive officer of Allstate. I welcome the opportunity to lead 53,000 of the finest employees and agents in America, whose combined efforts led to another record year for the company. 1998 was a watershed year for another reason, too: Jerry Choate, my predecessor and good friend, announced his retirement after a stellar 37-year career at Allstate. Starting as an operations supervisor in California, Jerry rose through the company and graced everything and everyone he touched with a sense of purpose and integrity. He took over as CEO in 1994 and under his stewardship the company and its shareholders thrived. From 1994 to 1998, during his leadership, we increased operating income …
I wrote the CEO’s remarks at the monthly officer lunches and the annual off-site leadership meeting. He would use this framework to personalize his remarks. This was from an officer lunch in July 2007.
Today’s meeting marks a very special milestone. As you saw from last week’s e-mail, we have completed our new mission statement.
Our senior leadership team was deeply involved in every aspect of developing this document, from inception to revision to finalization.
All of you have played key roles as well, by providing us with your comments and feedback in the officer sessions and throughout the entire process.
Senior executives who facilitated those meetings reported how well-prepared, thoughtful and passionate you were about being a part of the process.
I want to thank you for your help, input and support.
We listened intently to what you had to say and your feedback has been incorporated into the final version.
I’d like to share with you a few highlights and details.
Briefly review document:
Why we developed it.
What it’s meant to be
Shared vision/roadmap for the next 3-5 years.
Way we’ll transform the company into a consumer-focused organization.
Here’s part of a speech I wrote for a senior executive to present at the company’s annual sales meeting in March 2012. The speech was very well-received.
Let’s do a quick flash back to 2011. For me it’s The Year That Shall Live in Infamy.
We started the year with the Groundhog Day blizzard in the midwest and northeast. February and March brought tornadoes and hail. In April the midwest and southeast were battered by tornadoes including the F5 tornadoes that caused severe destruction throughout Alabama and Georgia.
May, June and July saw flooding, tornadoes, wildfires and more hail damage.
I don’t know about you but at that point last year I was beginning to wonder whether the Mayan calendar was off by a year! Or maybe something we had said started a new round of Biblical plagues.
In August we got a visit from hurricane Irene, and if that wasn’t enough, the usually mild month of October brought snowstorms throughout the northeast that broke all-time records and caused historic damage.
But good news, things are starting to look up. The weather last November and December was uncharacteristically mild. And now we seem to be experiencing the winter that hardly was. I don’t want to jinx it, and of course, Mother Nature is fickle and weather is always subject to change, especially as we head into spring storm season and then hurricane season. But we’ll be ready. We’re staffing up our Claims Storm team, exiting some coastal markets, expanding our reinsurance programs, and making sure we stay financially strong so we can always deliver on the promises you make to our clients.
Let’s look at the economy. After five years of a persistent, severe and historic downturn, the signs are starting to tell a better story. Here are just a few news flashes and leading indicators:
Last month the Labor Department reported that the jobless rate fell to 8.3 percent in January, a three-year low, which sent stocks and bond yields climbing.
U.S. car sales are up, and though they’re far from their previous highs, as you can see, the trend is favorable. One particular bright spot is General Motors, which was on the ropes and in bankruptcy two years ago. Last year GM earned 7.6 billion dollars, its best annual profit ever, and resumed the title of world’s largest car company. How’s that for a turnaround?