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American Family Insurance expands board of directors with election of Bill Westrate, Fabian Fondriest


Two new members have been elected to the board.

Bill WestrateFabian FondreistThe board of directors for Madison, Wisconsin-based American Family Insurance has elected two new members: Bill Westrate (left), enterprise president of American Family, and Fabian Fondriest, president of American Family’s direct sales affiliate companies.

The elections of Westrate and Fondriest increase American Family’s board of directors to 16, including 13 board members who are independent of the company.

The elections follow updates to the company’s top leadership structure last June, recommended by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jack Salzwedel. Those updates included promoting Westrate from chief operating officer (COO) to enterprise president, assuming that role from Salzwedel.

Fondriest was also promoted from chief operating officer to president of American Family Direct, which consists of affiliate companies Homesite Group, a direct homeowners, renters, condo and small business writer, and The General (PGC Holdings Corp.), which specializes in direct auto insurance. Homesite is based in Boston, Massachusetts, and The General in Nashville, Tennessee.

“Bill and Fabian bring exceptional knowledge and enthusiasm in the transformation of American Family through customer-driven innovation and improvement,” Salzwedel said. “Their unrelenting, strategic focus on growth and new opportunities, combined with their diverse experiences and perspectives, add to the strength of our board.”

Westrate started with American Family in 1996 as an actuarial analyst and steadily earned promotions to various leadership positions, including Actuarial vice president and then Personal Lines vice president. In 2011, he became an executive vice president before becoming COO in 2014.

Fondriest started at Homesite in 1999 as chief operating officer, later became chief executive officer and retained that role when American Family acquired Homesite in late 2013. He was promoted to COO of American Family direct distribution in January 2016.

Other American Family board members are:

  • Jack Salzwedel (board chairman), American Family chairman and chief executive officer

  • Kathleen S. Barclay, retired executive, The Kroger Co.

  • Christine Cumming, retired first vice president, Federal Reserve Bank of New York

  • Londa Dewey, president, QTI Group

  • Leslie Ann Howard, retired president and chief executive officer, United Way of Dane County

  • Ted Kellner, CFA, chief executive officer, T&M Partners, The Kelben Foundation

  • Rakesh Khurana, dean, Harvard College

  • Michael Knetter, Ph.D., president, University of Wisconsin Foundation

  • R. Scott Malmgren, retired senior partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP

  • Eliot Protsch, president, Wapsie Investment & Advisory LLC

  • Paul Shain, president and chief executive officer, Singlewire Software LLC

  • Dmitri Stockton, retired senior vice president, General Electric (GE), and former chairman, president and chief executive officer of GE Asset Management

  • Tom Tefft, retired senior vice president, Medtronic, former president of Medtronic’s Neuromodulation Business.

  • Thomas Zimbrick, chief executive officer, Zimbrick Inc.


About American Family Insurance
Madison, Wisconsin-based American Family Insurance group, celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2017, is the nation's 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group and ranks No. 315 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. Web; Facebook; Twitter