Robert B. Holmes has been elected president and chief operating officer of Great Western Financial Corp., the nation's third-largest savings and loan holding company, and its principal subsidiary, Great Western Savings, it was announced Monday.
Holmes succeeds James F. Montgomery, 50, as president, but Montgomery remains chairman and chief executive, jobs that he has held since 1980. Montgomery added, however, that "I'm not going anywhere."
"This is a $25-billion company now," the chief executive said. "What this (move) really does is give the board (of directors) some sense of security in case I'm run over by a truck."
Holmes, 53, will continue as president of Aristar Inc., Great Western's consumer finance and life insurance subsidiary.
A native of Massachusetts, Holmes holds an undergraduate degree in economics from Harvard University. He spent 13 years at Lazard Freres & Co., the New York investment banking firm, and four years, from 1977 to 1981, as president of Ticor, the Los Angeles-based insurance holding company.
Holmes has been part of Great Western's office of the president, a group composed of top executives who head Great Western's major operations. Although the savings and loan is the principal subsidiary, Great Western Financial has operations in commercial leasing, insurance, consumer finance and real estate sales. The office of the president will continue to exist, but Holmes will be in charge now, Montgomery said.