We have a changing of the guard to tell you about involving the leadership at Markel Corp., Kemper and Validus Holdings. Meanwhile, the new leader of State Auto Financial Corp has been named chairman of the company as well as a subsidiary.
Specialty insurer Markel Corporation is replacing its long-time CEO with two of its executives who will share the responsibilities in a major succession-planning move.
Thomas Gayner, president and chief investment officer; and Richard Whitt III, president and co-chief operating officer will serve as co-chief executive officers as of Jan. 1, 2016. As well, F. Michael Crowley, president and co-chief operating officer, will become Markel’s sole president, over the same timeline.
That means Alan Kirshner gives up his long-time role as CEO. He’ll remain on, however, as Markel’s executive chairman, a position which will allow him to continue focusing on long-term strategic planning and development for the company.
In addition to his new role, Gayner will also oversee Markel’s investment portfolio and non-insurance operating companies, known as Markel Ventures. Whitt will also be in charge of Markel’s international insurance and reinsurance operations plus its underwriting, finance, actuarial, claims, information technology, and its legal/administrative functions.
Crowley will still oversee Markel’s global insurance, specialty and wholesale operations as well as its marketing, human resources and strategic management functions.
Kemper Corp. named a former Allstate and Travelers executive as its new leader.
Joseph Lacher, Jr. joins the insurer as president, CEO and a board member, effective immediately.
Lacher was most recently president of Allstate Protection, where he lead its property/casualty offerings for more than 17 million in the U.S. Before Allstate, he spent 18 years at the Travelers Companies, most recently as executive vice president of Personal Lines and Select Accounts.
His appointment means that Donald Southwell has stepped down from his roles as Kemper’s chairman, president, CEO and a board member, following his previously announced plans to retire. He’ll stay on, however, as a senior advisor until his retirement on May 26, 2016.
In a related move, Kemper board member Robert Joyce became non-executive chairman of its board of director.
Validus Holdings, the Bermuda-based insurer and reinsurer, has made a number of new management changes and appointments at its various companies.
Rupert Atkin will retire as CEO of Talbot on February 29, 2016. Peter Bilsby, currently managing director of Talbot, will succeed Atkin on March 1, 2016.
Michael Carpenter will step down as Talbot’s chairman of Talbot on March 1, at which point Atkin will succeed him in the role. Carpenter will remain a non-executive director at Talbot and also a Validus board member. The Lloyd’s board of directors. The appointments are subject to customary Lloyd’s and regulatory approvals.
Bilsby joined Talbot as head of Global Aerospace from XL London Market Ltd. in September 2009, and served in various executive roles. Bilsby was appointed to the Board of Talbot in April 2010.
Atkin, a long-time industry veteran, launched Syndicate 1183 in 1991 and was appointed director of underwriting at Talbot in 2001. He became CEO following the sale of Talbot to Validus in 2007. Rupert was appointed to the Council of Lloyd’s in 2007, became chairman of the Lloyd’s Market Association in 2012 and deputy chairman of Lloyd’s in 2014.
Carpenter joined Talbot in June 2001 as Chief Executive Officer and was appointed Chairman following the sale of the business to Validus in 2007. He joined the Validus board in 2012 and chairs the Validus Group Audit Committee.
LaRocco will succeed current chairman Robert Restrepo Jr., who is retiring from the board at the end of 2015.
Separately, STFC’s parent, State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company, named James Kunk, its current lead independent director, as non-executive chairman of SAM. He’ll succeed Restrepo once he retires from this board, also at the end of the year.
LaRocco became president and CEO of both companies in May 2015, when he was also elected a director of both boards.
Sources: Markel Corp., Kemper, Validus and State Auto Financial Corp.