Carmel-based Protective Insurance Corp. has a new CEO: former American International Group Inc. insurance executive Jeremy Johnson.
Protective, which was known as Baldwin & Lyons Inc. until August, announced the appointment Wednesday. Johnson also was appointed to a seat on the company’s board of directors.
Johnson, 48, immediately replaces interim CEO Jay Nichols, who had been serving in that role since previous CEO Randall Birchfield resigned abruptly in October.
Nichols will remain chairman of Protective’s board of directors.
Before joining Protective, Johnson served in various leadership roles at insurer AIG from 2000 until December 2017. His final role at AIG was as president of the company’s U.S. commercial division, which included the territory of the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
Before joining AIG, Johnson was a broker for Sedgwick Inc. and Marsh Inc.
“I’m excited to be joining Protective and looking forward to continuing improvements in our operational and financial performance,” Johnson said in a written statement. “This is a challenging time for the commercial auto insurance sector, and it’s during challenging times that Protective, with our long history of providing commercial automobile insurance, can distinguish ourselves."
Johnson was not immediately available for further comment.
Johnson joins Protective at a time of turmoil for the company. Since May 2016, when three top leaders retired over disagreements with company leadership and strategy, a host of other executives and board members have departed.
Former CEO Birchfield resigned just two months after signing an employment contract that would have kept him at the company through 2021.
On the same day that the company revealed Birchfield’s departure, Protective announced that its board had formed a committee to “explore opportunities to maximize long-term shareholder value” that could include “potential strategic partnerships or transactions.”
The company, which specializes in insurance for the transportation industry, posted a loss of $34.1 million, or $2.28 per share, in 2018, though it rebounded in the first quarter with a profit of $2.7 million, or 18 cents per share.
Also on Wednesday, Protective announced that Stephen Gray has joined the company’s board of directors. Gray has more than 35 years of advisory experience in investment banking and consulting.
Gray is also a long-time advisor to the Shapiro family and a trustee for various Shapiro family entities. The family has been a major shareholder in the company for decades. Brothers Nathan and Robert Shapiro are members of Protective’s board. Nathan’s son, Steven, resigned from his position as executive chairman and board member last year.