Long-time Nationwide Chief Executive Officer Steve Rasmussen plans to retire later in 2019, the company disclosed.

Rasmussen’s last official day as CEO will be Oct. 1, 2019, capping more than 10 years leading the Ohio-based insurer. Nationwide noted, however, that he plans to be available to the company through year’s end to enable a smooth transition. Already, Nationwide’s board of directors is searching for a successor, backed by “an independent CEO succession advisor.”

“Nationwide’s strong heritage and diverse portfolio have positioned us well, but it’s our associates that set Nationwide apart and make our company great. Nationwide’s future is bright and the leadership team is strong,” Rasmussen said in prepared remarks. “I look forward to working with my successor on a smooth transition as the company starts a new chapter from a position of strength in every aspect – products, service, talent, technology, innovation and culture.”

Nationwide, in a release announcing Rasmussen’s planned retirement, credited him with enabling significant growth at the insurer, which now has 30,000 employees and booked nearly $47 billion in total sales in 2018. Today, it is one of the nation’s largest insurance and financial services companies.

Rasmussen has overseen a number of key acquisitions that broadened Nationwide’s market share, the insurer noted. These include the merger with Harleysville Insurance in 2012, which solidified Nationwide’s position as a commercial lines industry leader and the purchase of Jefferson National in 2017, which expanded Nationwide’s registered investment advisor distribution and fee-based product offerings.

As well, Rasmussen led the consolidation of multiple brands to leverage the iconic Nationwide name and “Nationwide is on your side”-tag line, elevating the company’s profile across all of its product offerings. In addition, he established a focus on innovation and emerging businesses to position the company for the future, Nationwide said.

Nationwide also pointed out that the insurer, under Rasmussen’s leadership, has been widely recognized for its strong culture of engagement and inclusion. Nationwide has been named one of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For, a Great Place to Work by Gallup and a best place to work for LGBTQ equality by the Human Rights Campaign. Nationwide also has been honored by the National Urban League, Black Enterprise, Latina Style and Catalyst, among others.

A Long History With Nationwide

Rasmussen has been CEO at Nationwide since February 2009, and has spent his 45-year career at the insurer’s family of companies. He was president and chief operating officer of the company’s Property and Casualty insurance division from 2003 to 2009. He first joined Nationwide in 1998 as a result of the merger with Allied Insurance, where he served as president and chief operating officer. He joined Allied in 1974.

As Nationwide noted, Rasmussen has also been an active leader outside of Nationwide, serving on the boards of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, OhioHealth, American Electric Power and Catalyst. He is also a member of the Columbus Partnership, has previously served on the boards of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, National Urban League and the Insurance Information Institute, and co-chaired the United Way of Central Ohio Alexis de Tocqueville Vingt-Cinq Society campaign.

Tim Corcoran, Nationwide’s board chairman, credited Rasmussen for helping to evolve Nationwide into what it is today.

“His invaluable leadership guided the company’s transition to one brand, strengthened our core businesses, evolved our distribution approach, prioritized investments in innovation and emerging businesses, and sharpened our focus on customers,” Corcoran said.

He asserted that Rasmussen and “his strong bench of leaders” has helped ready Nationwide for “long-term success” even as the board searches for his successor “as part of a deliberate and thoughtful succession planning process.”

Source: Nationwide