13:08 PM

American Family Insurance adds to board of directors


The two new board members are affiliated with Main Street America, which became part of American Family after a recent merger.

The American Family Insurance board of directors has expanded its expertise with the addition of two new members who are affiliated with Main Street America, the Florida-based mutual insurance company that became part of American Family Insurance Mutual Holding Company through a recent merger.

The new members, whose appointments took effect Oct. 31, are:

  • Tom Van Berkel, Main Street America chair, president and chief executive officer. 
  • Idalene “Idie” Kesner, a member of Main Street America’s board of directors since 2010 and dean and professor of strategic management the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.

“We are excited to have Tom and Idie join our board. Tom’s extensive experience with Main Street America, including deep knowledge of the independent agency model and Idie’s overall business acumen, including in corporate governance and mergers and acquisitions, fit well with the future of American Family,” said Jack Salzwedel, American Family chair and chief executive officer. “We welcome their expertise and perspectives as we bring our newest company into the enterprise and continue evolving to meet customer needs.”

Van Berkel joined Main Street America in 1990 as marketing vice president, and in 1993, was promoted to senior vice president of insurance operations. In 2001, he was elected president and chief operating officer and appointed chief executive officer in 2002. In 2006, he was elected chair of all of Main Street America’s operating companies’ boards.

Prior to joining Main Street America, Van Berkel was senior vice president of personal lines at Associates Insurance Group, a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company. He is active in the community, including serving as a past chair of the Jacksonville, Florida, Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

Tom earned his bachelor’s degree at Boston College.

Kesner was appointed dean of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business in Bloomington, Indiana, in July 2013. She has served as the Frank P. Popoff chair of strategic management since 1995. Previously, she was associate dean of faculty and research at the Kelley School. From 2006 to 2009, Kesner served as chairperson for the Kelley School's department of management and entrepreneurship. From 2003 to 2006, she served as chairperson of the school's MBA program.

Kesner’s research is in corporate boards of directors, chief executive succession, corporate governance, and mergers and acquisitions. She has published articles in numerous journals including Academy of Management, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Management, Organization Science, and Harvard Business Review.

In addition, Kesner has taught in more than 120 executive programs and served as a consultant for many different national and international firms working on strategy and board-related issues.

Kesner received her MBA and Ph.D. from Indiana University.

The addition of Van Berkel and Kesner increase American Family’s board of directors to 18. Other board members are:

  • Jack Salzwedel, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, American Family Insurance
  • Kathleen Barclay, Senior Vice President Human Resources – retired, The Kroger Company
  • Christine Cumming, First Vice President and Chief Operating Officer– retired, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
  • Londa Dewey, President, QTI Group
  • Fabian Fondriest, President and Chief Executive Officer, Homesite; Chief Operating Officer, American Family Direct
  • Leslie Ann Howard, Senior Advisor to the Chief Executive Officer, United Way Worldwide
  • Ted Kellner, Chief Executive Officer, T&M Partners, The Kelben Foundation
  • Rakesh Khurana, Dean, Harvard College
  • Michael Knetter, President and Chief Executive Officer, University of Wisconsin Foundation
  • R. Scott Malmgren, Senior Partner– retired, Deloitte & Touche, Chicago
  • Eliot Protsch, President, Wapsie Investment & Advisory, LLC
  • Paul Shain, Presiding Director and Chief Executive Officer, Singlewire Software, LLC
  • Dmitri Stockton, Senior Vice President– retired, General Electric (GE)
  • Tom Tefft, Senior Vice President– retired, Medtronic
  • Bill Westrate, Enterprise President, American Family Insurance
  • Thomas Zimbrick, Chief Executive Officer, Zimbrick, Inc.



About American Family Insurance
Madison, Wisconsin-based American Family Insurance group is the nation's 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group and ranks No. 311 on the Fortune 500 list. The company sells American Family-brand products, including auto, homeowners, life, business and farm/ranch insurance, primarily through its exclusive agents in 19 states. American Family affiliates (The General and Homesite) also provide options for consumers who want to manage their insurance matters directly over the internet or by phone. Affiliate Main Street America sells insurance products through independent agents. Web; Facebook; Twitter