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Contact: Nicole Vasile
Vice President, Marketing & Communications


  • Chief Executive Officer Ken A. Crerar, who led The Council for more than 30 years, to become Executive Chair, effective July 1, 2024 
  • President Joel Wood, who previously lobbied on behalf of Council Member firms as long-time SVP of Government Affairs, appointed to President/CEO  

WASHINGTON, DC – The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers announced today that, effective July 1, Chief Executive Officer Ken A. Crerar will take on a new role as Executive Chair. Council President Joel Wood, who previously served as Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, will be appointed to President/CEO. Catherine Richardson will continue to serve as Chief Operating Officer.

The transition marks a significant milestone for Crerar, who has been with The Council for more than 35 years. Since stepping up to lead the organization in 1992, Crerar has been committed to elevating the brand and profile of The Council, gradually solidifying its position as the premier association for the most successful, fastest-growing commercial insurance brokerages in the U.S. and around the world.

“I’ve had a truly unique opportunity to dream and build new things alongside the brightest and most talented people in my industry. The years go by fast when each day presents a new and exciting challenge,” Crerar said of his long tenure. “I’m thankful for the support and encouragement that Joel, Catherine, and I have received from our Board and our staff since we announced this transition. And, more broadly, I want to express my gratitude to our members for putting their trust in me these past 30-plus years. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished together.”

“There are no words to summarize the impact that Ken has had as leader of The Council. The dedication he has shown in building this community and serving its members for more than 38 years is unprecedented,” said Keith Schuler, CEO of InterWest Insurance Services and Council Board Chair. “Ken has been an amazing leader and mentor to so many, and we cannot thank him enough for his vision and commitment to our industry. It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve alongside him as a Council Board officer.”

Crerar’s leadership style has been described as dynamic and forward-thinking. He has continuously had his finger on the pulse of the industry, which over three decades has resulted in the creation of many new programs and opportunities for the brokerage sector.

In response to ongoing market consolidation, Crerar facilitated and led the merger of two broker-centric associations into what is known today as The Council. He also created The Council Foundation (formerly known as FAME), which has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to date, and works to recruit young, diverse talent to the brokerage sector. Crerar elevated talent development to one of the key pillars of The Council, assembling a team of industry experts to build The Council Academy, which delivers best-in-class programs and resources for professionals at each phase of their career. Under his leadership, The Council’s Political Action Committee (CouncilPAC) has grown to become the largest PAC in the insurance industry.

Crerar was the driving force behind Leader’s Edge magazine, which launched in 2004 and has since become an award-winning publication for and about commercial insurance brokers, now celebrating its 20th anniversary. As employee benefits became a focus and area of growth for Council member firms, Crerar responded with the launch of the Employee Benefits Leadership Forum, which remains a marquis event for EB brokers, carriers and industry partners. He also broadened The Council’s reach by growing its international membership and spearheading the creation of the World Federation of Insurance Intermediaries (WFII), a non-profit representing associations of insurance intermediaries from around the world.

In May 2006, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce appointed Crerar to the prestigious Association Committee of 100 (C100), which is comprised of the country’s leading association chief staff executives. In 1995, he was appointed by the Secretary of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative to the Industry Sector Advisory Committee on Trade and Services as an advisor on insurance matters. Prior to joining The Council in 1987 as chief lobbyist and director of the association’s political action committee, Crerar spent five years with the Footwear Industries of America, where he rose through the ranks to vice president, running point on lobbying efforts focused on international trade.

In his new role as Executive Chair of The Council, Crerar will serve as a strategic advisor to President/CEO Joel Wood. The two have worked closely together since Wood joined The Council in 1993 to lead the Government Affairs team. “It’s no surprise that Joel Wood built a reputation for himself as one of the most respected lobbyists in D.C.,” Crerar said. “He is a consummate relationship-builder and an absolute expert on our industry and our members. Joel knows our business inside and out. There is no one better suited to lead The Council.”

“When I was a young congressional staffer, the first lobbyist I ever met was Ken Crerar,” Wood said. “He has always been a serial entrepreneur, unafraid to take risks and constantly looking around the corner to find new ways to serve and advance the brokerage profession.”

“Over the past 40 years, I have had a front-row seat to Ken’s visionary leadership, which has taken The Council from a small shop that represented a very narrow sliver of the agent/broker community, to the preeminent voice for commercial insurance brokerage – a great legacy.”

Council President and 30-year industry veteran Joel Wood will be elevated to President/CEO

As President/CEO of The Council, Wood will oversee The Council’s efforts to deliver best-in-class networking opportunities, advocacy, talent development programming and market intelligence on behalf its members, which annually place 90 percent of all property/casualty insurance premiums and 70 percent of all employee benefits business in the U.S. Over the course of his career, Wood has been engaged in a range of complex issues impacting insurance brokerage at both the federal and state level, including health insurance reform, terrorism reinsurance and regulatory reforms both small and large. Prior to being promoted to President in 2022, Wood served as SVP of Government Affairs and worked successfully to pass critical legislation in support of The Council’s member firms.

“It is a high bar to succeed Ken, but he has put into place a deeply talented team of professionals who I respect and admire,” Wood said. “My aim is to continue to marshal that professionalism to deliver value to our members, and enable them to best serve their clients in a challenging and rapidly-changing economic environment.”