Bob Rusbuldt—set to retire in about two months as chief executive of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (The Big I)—was relinquished of his duties after an interview he conducted with Fox News host Jesse Watters at an April conference, the association said.
Watters joined Rusbuldt on stage at the Big I Legislative Conference in Washington. During the interview, Watters “made a crude comment questioning the gender of Vice President Kamala Harris,” according to a June 28 CNN report.
“The Big I strives to be a fair, open, and inclusive organization and we do not condone racist, sexist, or homophobic statements or behavior,” the organization said. “In response to this incident, we had Mr. Rusbuldt relinquish his operational duties immediately following the Legislative Conference and in advance of his retirement in September. It is disappointing to see Mr. Rusbuldt end his 37-year career at the Big I in this way.”
The association had not previously announced Rusbuldt was relieved of his duties.
Only Watter’s comments were reported, however The Big I said it does not “in any way condone or agree with any of Mr. Rusbuldt’s statements, but we must take full responsibility for them.”
“We deeply regret that this incident occurred at an event that is intended to celebrate our organization and its membership,” added The Big I. “We have been working with our DEI team internally and externally since the event on ways to foster a more inclusive and respectful culture and ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.”
Rusbuldt, the longest tenured chief executive in the history of the association, told its national board of directors last September of his decision to step down. Charles Symington was named Rusbuldt’s successor.
This article was originally published by Insurance Journal. Reporter Chad Hemenway is the National Editor of Insurance Journal.