Nationwide disclosed it has chosen Kirt Walker, a 33-year company veteran, to become its next chief executive officer.
“I’m humbled and proud to lead this great company and iconic brand,” said Walker, president and chief operating officer of Nationwide’s financial service business lines since 2009.
Plans call for Walker to take over the CEO slot on Oct. 1, 2019. He will succeed current CEO Steve Rasmussen, who announced earlier in the spring that he would retire in the fall.
Nationwide said that its Board of Directors chose Walker for the CEO position after an extensive search process.
“Nationwide has enjoyed tremendous growth and momentum over the past 10 years with [Rasmussen] at the helm,” board Chairman Tim Corcoran said in prepared remarks. “Kirt Walker has the unique experience and vision to build upon that momentum and lead our company to new heights and a bright future.”
Walker has worked for the Nationwide family of companies for 33 years, Nationwide said. Beyond his current role, he served 23 years in the property and casualty business, including as president and chief operating officer of Nationwide Insurance and president of Allied Insurance, Nationwide’s former independent agency subsidiary.
Walker will report to Rasmussen and Corcoran until October to facilitate a smooth transition, Nationwide noted.
Walker, in prepared remarks, said he was looking forward to helping to shape Nationwide’s future.
“I often talk to our people about Nationwide’s unfair advantage over our competitors,” Walker said. “It starts with our mutual heritage and our diverse portfolio, and it is fueled by our strong culture of caring for our members, partners, communities and each other. I’m incredibly optimistic about our future.”
Walker is active in a variety of industry and community organizations. Among them: He currently serves as a board member for the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, the American Council of Life Insurers and the Association of Ohio Life Insurance Companies. As well, Walker serves on the American Red Cross Board of Governors, the Columbus State Community College Board of Trustees, and the Board of Directors for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. He has also served as a member of the Board of Directors for White Castle restaurant company.
Current CEO Rasmussen has been in charge 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 previously 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.