Kirt Walker, president and COO of Nationwide Financial, will succeed Steve Rasmussen as the chief executive guiding the insurance and financial services giant.

Nationwide's next CEO has decades of experience in each of the company's two lines of business, property and casualty insurance and financial services. Kirt Walker, president and COO of Nationwide Financial since 2009 and a 33-year veteran of the company, will succeed CEO Steve Rasmussen Oct. 1 when Rasmussen retires. 

Walker has led substantial growth in the company's retirement business, which includes annuities, life insurance, mutual funds and public and private sector retirement plans. The sector's performance has shored up volatility from severe weather in the P&C business, where Walker spent 23 years in roles including president and COO of Nationwide Insurance and president of Allied Insurance. Allied is the Des Moines, Iowa-based Nationwide subsidiary where Rasmussen also served as top executive prior to joining Nationwide.

“Nationwide has enjoyed tremendous growth and momentum over the past 10 years with Steve at the helm. Kirt Walker has the unique experience and vision to build upon that momentum and lead our company to new heights and a bright future,” said Tim Corcoran, chairman of Nationwide's board, in a statement. “The company is well-positioned to grow its core businesses and continue to meet the future needs of our members and partners with new and innovative products and solutions.”

Walker is a graduate of Iowa State University and holds a Master of Science in management from The American College. He serves as a board member for the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, American Council of Life Insurers, Association of Ohio Life Insurance Companies, American Red Cross, Columbus State Community College and Mid-Ohio Foodbank and White Castle Systems Inc. He previously served as a board member of the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus, New Albany Foundation, Greater Des Moines Partnership and as a trustee for Grand View College in Des Moines.

“I’m humbled and proud to lead this great company and iconic brand,” Walker said in a release. “In the days to come, I look forward to working with Steve Rasmussen, our Board of Directors and the executive leadership team to transition into my new role. I often talk to our people about Nationwide’s unfair advantage over our competitors. 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.”