Pinnacol is proud to announce that John O’Donnell has been named as incoming president and chief executive officer. Following an extensive nationwide search, John was hired to succeed Phil Kalin, who will retire on March 31.
John will officially join Pinnacol on Feb. 28, bringing more than 30 years of leadership experience to his new role. He was most recently an executive vice president at Allstate, where he served as president, Western Territory, and board chair of Allstate Canada, in which roles he was responsible for 27 states and the Canadian company. John’s other roles at Allstate included SVP of Agency Operations and president and CEO of Allstate Canada.
We met with John this week to learn more about his background and his vision for Pinnacol:
Q: Welcome to Pinnacol, John!
A: Thank you! I’m thrilled to be joining this unique company and supporting its important mission.
Q: Have you always worked in the insurance industry?
A: I’ve spent the past 15 years of my career working in insurance. I was with Allstate for more than a decade, and before that, I was a senior vice president at GMAC. But I have also served in leadership positions at the Walt Disney Company and Goldman Sachs.
Q: In addition to being an insurance industry veteran, is it true you are also a military vet?
A: Yes, I started my career as an attack helicopter pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps. I attended the U.S. Naval Academy, which is a leadership incubator for the Navy and the Marines. I was later commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marines.
Q: How has your military service impacted the rest of your career?
A: When I first left the military, I remember thinking about how important it is for me to be of service to others and help people when they need support. That purpose is what initially attracted me to insurance and has kept me in the field all these years.
The military also instilled a deep sense of teamwork and camaraderie. I learned very quickly that the individuals in my squadron had unique insights and great ideas, and that my role was to empower them to be their best, both individually and as squads. I have carried this lesson throughout all of my subsequent leadership roles.
Finally, when you are in the military, you are trained to adapt quickly when things don’t go according to plan. I learned at an early age how to be flexible and work closely with my teammates to carry out a successful mission.
Q: What drew you to Pinnacol?
A: Pinnacol’s focus on and caring protection of Colorado businesses and their workers is exciting to me. I wasn’t just looking for another job; I was looking for a calling — and I found it at Pinnacol.
Pinnacol also has an outstanding team that has built a strong foundation for future success. We have the highest satisfaction score among injured workers of any carrier in Colorado and a sky-high Net Promoter Score among policyholders. The company has also been widely recognized for its financial performance and community support in recent years.
Q: Are you from Colorado?
A: No, I grew up in New York and have spent the past six years living in Chicago. But I have spent a lot of time in Colorado and am excited to be making it my home. As the president of Allstate’s Western Territory, I visited Colorado and met with numerous customers and agents. I love spending time outdoors — and so do my kids and my dog!
Q: What is your vision for Pinnacol? What changes might we expect under your leadership?
A: I look forward to helping Pinnacol evolve to better meet the changing needs of Colorado employers and workers. As leaders, we must meet the needs of our customers today, while also looking around the corner to anticipate how we can best serve them in the future. Over the past several years, we have repeatedly heard that our customers need us to provide more than just one line of coverage in one state. I will continue Pinnacol’s work with the larger community to explore the best way to achieve this goal and provide Pinnacol’s caring protection to as many Colorado businesses and workers as possible. There are many ways to solve an issue, and everything will be on the table.
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