U.S. Trust Company of New York has elected David A. Olsen, chairman and chief executive of Johnson & Higgins, the giant New York insurance brokerage firm, as a director.

Mr. Olsen, 59, is also in line to be vice chairman of Marsh & McClennan, which last week announced it would buy Johnson & Higgins and thus become the world's biggest insurance brokerage firm.

He joined Johnson & Higgins in 1966 as an account executive in San Francisco. He moved to Johnson & Higgins of Illinois in 1971 and was named its executive vice president in 1978. The next year he took that title at Johnson & Higgins of Texas.

In 1980 Mr. Olsen was named chairman of the Texas subsidiary and a director of the parent company, whose executive vice president he became in 1985. He has been chairman since 1991.

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