Veteran Markel chairman to retire
Markel Corporation’s executive chairman Alan Kirshner is to step down next year after 60 years with the company.
Mr Kirshner, who has been Markel’s chairman for 33 years, will be replaced by Steve Markel, the vice-chairman.
US-based Markel, which has reinsurance operations in Bermuda, said tonight that Mr Kirshner had informed the board that he would not stand for re-election at the company’s annual meeting scheduled for May 11 next year. He will retire as a director and officer of the company at the end of the meeting.
“I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as chairman of Markel these last 33 years, working alongside terrific leaders and great employees, all of whom come to work each day determined to build one of the world’s great companies,” Mr Kirshner said.
“This coming year I’ll celebrate both my 85th birthday and 60th anniversary at Markel, and believe these milestones mark the perfect time for me to retire from the board and pass on the chairman role to another proven leader, my good friend and long-time colleague, Steve Markel.”
Kirshner joined Markel in 1960 and moved quickly through a number of leadership roles with increasing responsibility. He joined the board in 1978 and became chairman and chief executive officer in 1986, the same year Markel became a public company.
He served as CEO through 2015 and moved into his executive chairman role in 2016. Over that period, Mr Kirshner, together with Anthony Markel and Steve Markel, led the company as it grew from approximately $60 million in total assets to around $25 billion.
The board has decided to give Mr Kirshner the honorary position of “chairman emeritus” on his retirement next year.
Steve Markel has been with Markel since 1975 and has been a member of its senior leadership team since the company went public, with a focus on finance and investments. He has served as vice-chairman since 1992 and has been a director since 1978.
“Alan has led Markel with tremendous passion, honesty and fairness,” Steve Markel said. “He has always been a visionary, challenging leadership and the organisation to embrace change, to innovate, create and strive for a better way. And, as the lead author of The Markel Style, the company’s values statement, his purpose and principles will live on within Markel for ever.”
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