Melvin C. Payne, a management founder of Carriage, has been our Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer since December 1996. Mr. Payne has been a director and Chief Executive Officer of Carriage since our inception in 1991. Prior to co-founding Carriage, Mr. Payne spent 10 years in the private company turnaround business involving numerous industries.
Prior to his turnaround career, Mr. Payne worked 10 years in the corporate lending business, initially with Prudential Insurance Company and later with Texas Commerce Bank in Houston. Mr. Payne was selected to serve on our Board because he is our Chief Executive Officer and our founder and has proven management skills.
Mr. Payne's diverse industry and financial experience coupled with his personal leadership and founder's vision for Carriage makes him highly qualified to serve as Chairman of the Board.