ACLI President and CEO

Biography | Speeches | TestimonyArticles, Op-Eds, Letters to the Editor, Videos and Podcasts


Susan K. Neely is the president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), the nation's leading trade association dedicated to providing products and services that contribute to Americans' financial and retirement security. As president and CEO, Neely drives public policy and advocacy on behalf of ACLI's member companies that represent 95 percent of industry assets and serve 90 million families.

Neely has long been recognized as a leading voice in public policy and advocacy in Washington, D.C., with extensive experience in the executive and legislative branches, state government, political campaigns and the private sector. After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Neely served as a special assistant to President George W. Bush and helped create the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and later became the first DHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs.

Neely led the American Beverage Association (ABA) for 13 years as president and CEO.  Under her leadership, ABA instituted first-of-their-kind initiatives with President Clinton's Global Initiative and First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign. These partnerships decreased calories from beverages sold in schools by 90 percent, put transparent calorie labels on millions of beverage containers, and made progress to reduce sugar consumed from beverages in the American diet. 

Neely also was a senior executive at the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA), where she designed award-winning national advocacy programs and initiatives.  HIAA’s ground-breaking Harry & Louise campaign, challenging the 1994 Clinton Administration’s healthcare plan, was the first industry campaign to utilize paid media.

Prior to association leadership, Neely was a senior adviser to two members of Congress as well as Gov. Terry Branstad of Iowa. She was one of the first women nationally to manage a statewide campaign, re-electing Branstad in the middle of the farm crisis when land values had dropped 63 percent. 

Neely has been named Trade Association CEO of the year by two different national organizations. She was awarded the "Global Citizen of the Year Award" from Seton Hall University's School of Diplomacy and International Relations.  She also has been honored as one of Washingtonian's "100 Most Powerful Women in Washington," and as the Washington Business Journal's "Women Who Mean Business."

Neely serves as vice chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, and as a director on the board of the Global Child Nutrition Foundation. She is a past chair of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Association Committee of 100 of the largest trade associations and the American Society of Association Executives. Neely also was elected as the first woman president of both the 105-year-old Washington Rotary Club and the 113-year-old University Club of Washington, D.C.  She is a member of the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., and a director of the American Council for Capital Formation.

A native of Iowa, Neely holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and French civilization from the University of Iowa and a master's degree in public administration from Drake University. She is the mother of two children, Eve and Ben.

Full Bio (PDF) Short Bio (PDF)



Articles, Op-Eds, Letters to the Editor, Videos and Podcasts