Vikki L. Pryor Named CEO of American Red Cross in Greater New York
The American Red Cross in Greater New York (ARC/GNY) is a key humanitarian partner and a vital participant in New York’s plans and programs to help over 9 million people in New York City and Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Sullivan Counties prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. The Chapter responds to an average of seven disasters a day — such as fires, floods, building collapses — and provides immediate humanitarian aid to as many as 100,000 people affected by these disasters each year.
The American Red Cross in Greater New York recently named Vikki L. Pryor as its new chief executive officer. Recognized as one of the 50 most powerful women in New York by Crains New York Magazine in 2009, Ms. Pryor was most recently president and chief executive officer of SBLI USA Mutual Life Insurance Company in New York for 11 years.
The first African American woman to head a major life insurance company in the U.S., she repositioned this 71-year old company into a national provider of financial services to underserved markets and audiences, a strategy that resulted in the reversal of a 10-year business decline and a $200 million increase in assets. The company now has more than $16.7 billion of insurance in force, 300,000 customers and has been cited twice as one of the 50 best places to work in New York City.
As a testimony to her leadership and impact, Ms. Pryor recently was named one of the 75 most powerful women in business by Black Enterprise Magazine. Ms. Pryor has a law and business degree, and prior to her business career, she spent eight years as a trial attorney with the Office of the Chief Counsel for the IRS in Chicago. She was then recruited to Allstate Life Insurance, and subsequently moved on to various senior-level positions within the insurance industry working for other leading companies such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Oxford Health before taking her position in 1999 at SBLI USA Mutual Life Insurance Company.
As CEO of the country’s largest Red Cross chapter, Pryor will lead the organization in providing disaster relief and emergency preparedness services and lifesaving training to Greater New York’s 9.2 million people. In addition, Pryor will serve as a Regional Executive with oversight responsibilities for the Metropolitan New York Region, which includes community chapters in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties, Shelter Island, N.Y., and Greenwich, CT.
“We are excited to have Vikki, the first African American woman to be named CEO of the Greater NY Chapter, leading our mission of getting New Yorkers ready to face the challenges of disaster –– both large and small,” said NY Red Cross Board of Trustees Chair Ira Millstein. “Vikki is enthusiastic and will be a pleasure for me and the Board to support as she takes the reins. She is a proven leader and humanitarian who will work with our team of dedicated employees, volunteers and partner groups to build upon the strength and resilience of the NY Metropolitan Region to ensure that the region and the 13 million people we serve are part of a safer community.”
“The breadth and depth of Vikki’s leadership experience, successful delivery of products and services to diverse audiences and proven track record of results will enable her to effectively lead the Red Cross’ largest and busiest chapter and region,” said American Red Cross Vice President Thomas Bruner.
Ms. Pryor serves on a number of corporate and civic boards, including the Small Business and Agricultural Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which she currently chairs, Citigroup Security and Fund Services Advisory Board, National Board of Girl Scouts of the USA and The New York Women’s Forum. She earned a B.A. degree magna cum laude and a J.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo and an M.B.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In memory of her grandmother and in recognition of her commitment to education and educating, she established the “Promise Prize” in 2002, a law school academic award.