Grange's chief property and casualty officer to succeed retiring CEO

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Columbus-based Grange has announced John Ammendola, the company's chief property and casualty officer, will succeed retiring CEO and President Tom Welch. Ammendola will begin leading the insurance provider--with $2 billion in assets and more than $1 billion in annual revenue--on the first of the year. The details from yesterday's announcement:

Tom Welch, 62, president and CEO of Grange Insurance, announced today that he will retire January, 2015 and concurrently, the Grange Insurance Board of Directors announced the election of John Ammendola, 48, executive vice president and chief property and casualty officer, to assume the president and CEO position effective January 1, 2015.

Welch has been with Grange Insurance since 2001 when he joined as president of the Grange Life Insurance Company and later served as vice president and chief financial officer until being named president and CEO in 2011. Under Tom's leadership Grange's surplus exceeded $1 billion – a first in the company's 79-year history.

"Tom's leadership over the past few years has been invaluable in guiding Grange to becoming a high performing company. Although I am saddened to see him leave, I am pleased he is taking the time for himself and his family. On behalf of the entire board, I'd like to thank him for his contributions and leadership," said Board Chairman David Wetmore.

"When Tom was elected as president and CEO we agreed that developing the next generation of Grange leaders and ensuring an orderly CEO succession were among our highest priorities," Wetmore said. "We are thrilled to have someone as exceptional and well-respected as John to lead Grange into the future."

Ammendola joined Grange in 2010 as president of personal lines and became chief property & casualty officer in 2013. Under his direction, the personal lines business returned to profitable growth and the company began to diversify its portfolio through continued investments and growth in its commercial lines business.

Ammendola's record of building and leading high performing teams in the industry includes serving as senior vice president of sales and marketing at Kemper Insurance Company. He also successfully served as senior vice president of finance and strategy at Safeco Insurance Company after leading Safeco's personal lines business as senior vice president. Ammendola started his insurance career with GEICO, where he served in claims, sales and underwriting leadership roles.

"It is an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to lead Grange and our independent agency partners into the future." Ammendola said. "Under Tom's leadership, we have started on the important journey of becoming a high performing company. My commitment is to build on that success. I'm looking forward to what the future of Grange will bring."