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Colorado-based workers’ comp insurer Pinnacol Assurance hires John O’Donnell as new president and CEO

February 17, 2022
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O’Donnell brings extensive insurance background, leadership experience from Allstate and Marine Corps 

DENVER, Feb. 17, 2022 — After an extensive nationwide search, Colorado’s largest workers’ compensation insurer, Pinnacol Assurance, has hired John O’Donnell to serve as the company’s next president and chief executive officer. He will join the company Feb. 28. O’Donnell will succeed Phil Kalin, who is retiring on March 31. 

O’Donnell joins Pinnacol with 30 years of leadership experience. He most recently was an executive vice president at Allstate, serving as the president, Western Territory, and board chair of Allstate Canada, where he was responsible for 27 states and the Canadian company. O’Donnell’s other roles at Allstate included SVP of Agency Operations and president and CEO of Allstate Canada.

O’Donnell also served in leadership positions at GMAC, the Walt Disney Company and Goldman Sachs, and he began his career as an attack helicopter pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps. He earned an MBA with high honors from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the U.S. Naval Academy.  

Recently, O’Donnell served as a board member of the United Service Organization (USO) of Illinois and established a military and veterans program at his prior company that led to the hiring and support of hundreds of veterans. He is the proud father of two children, loves outdoor activities, sports and travel, and is excited to be a part of Pinnacol’s caring culture.

“John brings a vast amount of insurance experience to Pinnacol,” said Joseph Hoff, chair of the Pinnacol Assurance Board of Directors. “He also refers to himself as a servant leader. This struck a chord with me, and the full board feels strongly he is the right person to shepherd Pinnacol forward while upholding the caring culture that sets us apart from our competitors.” 

“I’m thrilled to be joining Pinnacol because it is a unique company with an important mission to provide caring protection to Colorado businesses and the workers they employ,” said O’Donnell. “I look forward to helping Pinnacol evolve in order to better meet the changing needs of Colorado employers and workers.”

Pinnacol is Colorado’s largest workers’ compensation carrier with approximately 55,000 businesses insured, and an estimated 1 million Colorado workers covered. Founded in 1915, Pinnacol’s mission is to provide caring protection to Colorado businesses and the workers they employ. 

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