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American Family names next CEO

The company's enterprise president will take over in 2022
Jack Salzwedel (left) and Bill Westrate.
Jack Salzwedel (left) and Bill Westrate.(WMTV)
Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 8:59 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - American Family Insurance Enterprise President Bill Westrate will take the reins of the company when its current CEO steps down in a little more than a year, the Madison-based insurance giant announced Wednesday morning.

Westrate, who has been with the company for nearly a quarter-century, started as an actuary with American Family in 1996 and has since then rose though its ranks, reaching the C-suite as COO in 2004 before switching to his current role as enterprise president.

In the company’s statement announcing its succession plan, Westrate appeared to indicate that he did not foresee any need for major disruptions to how American Family operates, describing its mutual company as “rock-solid,” and saying its “strategy as a national multi-lline, multi-channel insurance provider is sound.”

“Our people and commitment to an inclusive and diverse culture will continue to fuel our success,” he continued.

Westrate will take over the position full-time when current CEO Jack Salzwedel steps aside at the end of next year. Until then, he will serve as CEO-elect beginning in January.

“Bill is a strategic, driven and authentic leader,” Salzwedel said. “He has incredible knowledge of our company and industry, combined with a forward-looking vision and interest in new opportunities, that will serve him well not only as CEO of a Fortune 300 company but also as a strong community partner.”

Salzwedel will stay in the American Family family, however, continuing in his role as board chair. The transition is part of a succession plan the company began two years ago.

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