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Contact: Nicole Vasile
Vice President, Marketing & Communications


Succession Planning Efforts Spur Leadership Changes for Council Foundation and Talent Development Teams

  • Joel Wood appointed to President/CEO as part of leadership transition announced in May 
  • Former CEO Ken A. Crerar takes on new role of Executive Chair  
  • Elizabeth McDaid, SVP of Leadership & Management Resources, to lead The Council Foundation as Foundation EVP  
  • Julia Ruiz, VP of Strategy & Leadership Resources, to succeed McDaid as SVP of Leadership & Management Resources 

WASHINGTON, DC – The Council is pleased to share that Joel Wood, who was appointed to President in 2022 after leading the Government Affairs team for more than 30 years, has been appointed to President/CEO. Ken A. Crerar, who led The Council for more than 30 years, most recently as CEO, has transitioned into a new role as Executive Chair. Catherine Richardson will continue to serve as Chief Operating Officer. These changes are part of a long-planned leadership transition announced earlier this quarter.

30-year Industry Veteran Joel Wood Assumes President/CEO Role

As President/CEO of The Council, Wood will oversee efforts to deliver best-in-class networking opportunities, advocacy, talent development programming, and market intelligence in support of Council member firms, which annually place 90 percent of all property/casualty insurance premiums and 70 percent of all employee benefits business in the U.S.

Prior to being promoted to President in 2022, Wood served as Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and has been the lead regulatory and government affairs officer at The Council since 1993. Over that time, he has worked to pass critical legislation in support of The Council’s member firms, engaging in a range of complex issues impacting insurance brokerage including health insurance reform, terrorism reinsurance and regulatory reforms both small and large. Wood has also been a trusted advisor to Crerar and The Council Board for decades, playing an integral role in the growth and success of the association over this time.

“Joel is a consummate relationship-builder and an absolute expert in our industry and our members. He knows our business and our issues inside and out. We have worked together over 30 years as both colleagues and friends and I have all the confidence in Joel as he now takes the helm of The Council,” Crerar said.

“No association globally represents more policyholders and premiums placed than The Council,” said Wood. “Our member firms are first in class, size, service, and community engagement. They deserve an association that continues to uphold all those standards and I look forward to building on that foundation.”

Wood has led the industry on numerous tax and regulatory battles impacting the ability of commercial insurance brokerages to grow and thrive, earning him recognition as one of the most respected financial services lobbyists in D.C. He has also led the growth of CouncilPAC, The Council’s political action committee which today ranks among the nation’s top 10 PACs and tops the list of insurance industry PACs.

“Joel brings a unique perspective to the role of President/CEO. The Council is so fortunate to have someone as qualified as Joel who worked closely with Ken over the past 30 years. Promoting from within speaks to the commitment to talent development, which is something The Council places in high value. This makes for a seamless transition while creating even more opportunity for membership and staff. We could not be more excited for Joel as he assumes his new role,” said Keith Schuler, CEO of InterWest Insurance Services and Council Board Chair.

In 2000, Wood and his wife Dana created the Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne after their son James, now 26, was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Their charitable and legislative efforts have led to hundreds of millions of dollars in scientific research, which has corresponded with a doubling of the current life expectancy for those affected by Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

McDaid to Lead Council Foundation; Ruiz to Head Leadership & Management Resources

In concert with this leadership transition, Wood announced today that Elizabeth McDaid, who has served as Senior Vice President of Leadership & Management Resources for more than a decade, will take on a new role as Council Foundation EVP, which is focused on attracting young diverse professionals to the commercial insurance brokerage industry. McDaid will continue to oversee The Council’s DE&I initiatives and lead the DE&I Advisory Committee.

Vice President of Strategy & Leadership Resources, Julia Ruiz, who has worked for The Council since 2009, will succeed McDaid as the SVP of Leadership & Management Resources. In this role, Ruiz will oversee The Council’s efforts to create programs and resources that develop talent at all levels within its member firms. These changes are effective immediately.

“I’ve inherited a great team put together by Ken, who has always been focused on brokerage talent development,” said Wood. “Julia has grown in many roles at The Council, and this is a wonderful progression. Elizabeth has, for decades, been our sector’s leading talent development professional. The same skills she has brought to building our leadership and internal management programs, she will now bring to developing The Council Foundation. Our industry will benefit mightily from the contributions of Julia, Elizabeth and their teams.”

Learn more about the Council The Council team.