Nationwide Announces New Executive Leader Roles

October 23, 2009 ( - Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company CEO Steve Rasmussen has announced new assignments for several executive leaders across the company.

Rasmussen, who was appointed CEO in February, said that the moves are intended to “share expertise, resources and leadership across our many business lines.”

In making the announcement he also said, These new assignments will bring fresh perspective and ideas to our entire organization and will help us develop new opportunities to collaborate, innovate, and provide the best customer service in the industry. Combined with our financial strength and strong go-to-market strategy, these changes will optimize our ability to attract and retain customers in both the insurance and financial services categories.”

Among the new assignments:

  • Mark Thresher , current president of Nationwide Financial, will assume the role of Chief Financial Officer for Nationwide. He’ll also oversee Investments and Nationwide Realty Investors.
  • Kirt Walker , current president of Nationwide Insurance, will assume the role of president of Nationwide Financial.
  • Mark Pizzi , current president of Customer Choice Distribution, will assume the role of president of Nationwide Insurance.
  • Larry Hilsheimer , current Chief Financial Officer, will assume the role of president of Nationwide Direct & Customer Solutions (formerly Customer Choice Distribution), which includes Nationwide’s call-center based sales units. He will also oversee Nationwide Bank, Nationwide Better Health, and Customer Service.
  • Kim Austen , president of Allied Insurance, will have his role expanded to include oversight of Scottsdale Insurance. Austen will also oversee Titan Insurance and Nationwide Agribusiness.

The new assignments have been approved by Nationwide’s board of directors and take effect immediately.

Additional biographical information:

Mark Thresher came to Nationwide in 1996, and prior to that spent 18 years with accounting firm KMPG, LLP. Thresher is board chair and President of the Association of Ohio Life Insurance Companies, serves on the board of directors for the American Council of Life Insurers, is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants as well as the Otterbein College Board of Trustees and is chair-elect of the COSI Columbus board of trustees.

Kirt Walker was named to lead Nationwide Insurance in March 2006. Walker joined the company in 1986, and has held various leadership positions within the company since that time. He is a member of the boards of the Columbus chapter of the American Red Cross and the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (AICPCU). While in Des Moines, Iowa, he served in several civic and philanthropic leadership roles.

Mark Pizzi joined Nationwide in 1978. Mark began his career at Nationwide as a personal lines underwriter and held a variety of underwriting and service before serving in a number of leadership roles across Nationwide's property and casualty operation. Pizzi has served on the Development Board of the Ohio Historical Society, and has served in various states as a board member of the American Red Cross, United Way, and Neighborhood Housing Services.

Larry Hilsheimer came to Nationwide in 2007 from Deloitte & Touche USA, LLP, where he held numerous positions as a partner, including Columbus office Managing Partner, Vice Chairman and Regional Managing Partner. Hilsheimer has been very active in the Columbus community, including serving on the Board of Nationwide Children's Hospital, Battelle for Kids education consulting organization, CompeteColumbus, Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, and the Ohio State University Alumni Association.

Kim Austen joined Allied Insurance in 1976, and has held numerous leadership roles over the past 33 years. Allied became a part of Nationwide in 1998. Austen is a board member of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, a member of the Iowa Business Council, the Leadership Council of central Iowa chapter of the American Red Cross, and the Science Center of Iowa.