George A. Foster Jr. will retire as chief executive officer of the parent company of Guaranty Broadcasting Corp. LLC and Guaranty Income Life Insurance Co. at the end of the year, after 62 years at the family-owned business.
“I had a great career at Guaranty and would not trade it for the world. My father had a dream of starting a life insurance company almost a century ago,” Foster said in a news release.
“Taking over for him when he passed away in 1961 was an honor for me.”
Foster is now 87. Guaranty Income Life is now licensed in 31 states and has more than $500 million in assets.
Foster said he was grateful to all the employees who made it possible for the company to flourish and all the people in Baton Rouge and Louisiana who gave the company a chance to succeed.
Foster will remain chairman of the board for Guaranty Corp. and Guaranty Income Life.
Meanwhile, A. Bridger Eglin, president of Guaranty Corp., stepped down as president but will continue to serve on the boards of Guaranty Corp. and the life insurance company.
Foster’s son, Flynn D. Foster, will take over immediately as president of Guaranty Corp. Flynn Foster is also president of Guaranty Broadcasting.
Foster said his father felt the timing was right for retirement.
His father had some health problems a couple of years ago, and although he is doing well now, he wasn’t able to put as much time in at the office as he used to, Foster said.
Foster said the highlights of his father’s career included the people he worked with, the 1964 purchase of WAFB and its sale in 1988 to American Family Corp., now known as Aflac.
Guaranty Broadcasting paid $3 million for the station in 1964. The 1988 sale price was not disclosed.
WAFB used to be housed in Guaranty Corp.’s offices on Government Street, Foster said.
“Tommy Gibbons, who ran it (WAFB), his office was here in our building, and he went down to my dad and said, ‘Hey, the TV station’s for sale. Would you like to buy it?’ ” Foster said.
After looking over the paperwork, Foster’s dad made the deal.
Then in the late 1980s, Aflac made Guaranty a “Godfather offer,” one the company couldn’t refuse, Foster said.
Guaranty Corp. focuses mainly on life insurance but has subsidiaries: Guaranty Broadcasting, which owns and operates five FM radio stations including Eagle 98.1, Tiger Country 100.7, 104.5 ESPN, Talk 107.3, and Country Legends 104.9; and a senior living facility in Mandeville.
Foster said he plans to continue in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.
“It’s kind of a sad day for everybody because of my dad’s announcement, but we’re excited about the future, and we’re looking forward to the next 85 years,” Foster said.