Westfield Group Announces Planned Leadership Transition


Westfield Center, Ohio, March 11, 2015 - As part of a well-planned leadership succession designed to maintain the Company’s momentum and build on its strong financial position, the members of the Ohio Farmers Insurance Company (OFIC) Board of Directors have elected Edward J. Largent III to succeed James R. Clay as Westfield Group leader, president and CEO. The transition will occur July 1, 2015. Mr. Clay will remain as chairman of the board until his retirement on March 31, 2016.

"Given his long tenure at Westfield, Ed was the natural choice to succeed Jim in this critical role," said Thomas E. Workman, chair of the OFIC Board governance and nominating committee. "He knows and respects the Westfield culture, while at the same time brings new ideas and incredible energy to make sure Westfield continues its tradition of stability and success. With his deep experience in the insurance industry and well-established relationships, he will provide the leadership and continuity Westfield needs to continue serving its customers well into the future."

Mr. Largent joined Westfield in 1986. Following a series of assignments of increasing responsibility, he was named chief technology officer for the company in 2005. In 2009, he was named chief administrative officer, with corporate oversight for a number of management functions, and also served as president of Westfield Financial and president of Westfield Services. In 2011, he was named president of Westfield’s overall insurance operations, where he was responsible for the company’s $1.7 billion multi-line, regional property and casualty insurance and surety operation. In that position, Mr. Largent focused on leading operational performance improvements, enhancing the positioning of Westfield’s book of business, increasing the Company’s capabilities related to independent agency distribution management, investing in new and improved claims capabilities, and enhancing the quality and depth of information and analytics used to assess and improve business performance.

Mr. Largent is a native of Boardman, Ohio. He holds a B.S. degree from Bowling Green State University in computer science and is a graduate of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business Executive Institute. He serves as a member of the Ohio Farmers Insurance Company Board of Directors, is a Board trustee for Ideastream (a northeast Ohio public television, radio, and multi-media organization), a trustee for the Cleveland Leadership Center, a trustee for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) Political Action Committee, a member of the TrustedChoice.com Board, a member of the Insurance Information Institute Board, and Westfield Insurance Foundation Board.

Mr. Clay will leave Westfield after a 35-year career with the company. During that time, he has played a role in nearly every aspect of the business, from a successful career as an insurance underwriter, to president of the insurance operation, to eventually taking the reins as CEO. He is a second generation employee. His father Lee worked for Westfield for 33 years.

"Jim’s contributions to Westfield are significant and all-encompassing," said Mr. Workman. "They include growing the company’s commercial business, expanding banking operations with two acquisitions and producing some of the best financial results in Westfield’s history, despite a very challenging economic and regulatory environment. We are very grateful to Jim for his outstanding leadership, which sets the stage for Westfield to succeed for many years."

Mr. Clay is a graduate of The Ohio State University. He is a trustee of the Property & Casualty Insurers Association of America and co-chairs the Insurance Industry Resource Council, Ohio’s workforce initiative to support the industry’s domestic carriers. Mr. Clay is active with a number of economic development organizations in northeast Ohio including the Greater Cleveland Partnership, Team NEO and Cleveland’s Playhouse Square Foundation.

About Westfield Group
Westfield Group is a customer-focused insurance and banking group of businesses headquartered in Westfield Center, Ohio and in business for more than 167 years. Westfield Insurance provides commercial insurance in 21 states, personal insurance in 10 states and surety services to customers in 50 states. Westfield is one of the nation’s 50 largest property and casualty insurance groups, represented by a network of more than 1,000 independent insurance agencies. Westfield Insurance was named to the 2014 Ward’s 50 list of top performing insurance companies and as a Top Workplace in Northeast Ohio. Westfield Bank provides banking solutions for businesses and individuals, and Westfield Services provides service and training support for independent insurance agencies. Learn more about Westfield Group at www.WestfieldInsurance.com and www.Westfield-Bank.com.

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