Until his retirement in 2007 from his company, White Mountains Insurance Group, John J. Byrne Jr. honed a formula for buying troubled insurance companies, fixing them, and selling them for handsome profits. Byrne pulled GEICO Corporation from the brink of insolvency when he was chair and CEO in the mid-1970s. Earlier in his career, he served as senior vice president of the Travelers Insurance Company, where he managed two major phases of the company’s more profitable operations. Financial World named him the Silver Award Winner in its CEO of the Year program, and the Wall Street Transcript selected him and GEICO’s president as the 1984 Outstanding Management Team in the property and casualty insurance industry. Warren Buffet, owner of GEICO’S parent company, Berkshire Hathaway, called Byrne “the Babe Ruth of Insurance.” Byrne was a trustee of Mount Sinai Hospital, Dartmouth College, and the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He also served on the Rutgers University Foundation Board of Overseers for more than a decade. His generous support led to the establishment of the Joshua Barlaz Chair in Mathematics, named in honor of his influential undergraduate professor.
John J. Byrne Jr.
Rutgers College 1954
Hall of Distinguished Alumni Class of