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Church Mutual elects new board chair and vice chair – Seasoned board member retires

MERRILL, Wisconsin – John (Jay) B. Williams, who had been serving as vice chairman of the Church Mutual Insurance Company board of directors since Dec. 13, 2017, was named chairman, effective Oct. 16, 2018. He assumed the role previously held by Allen A. Leverett, who now serves as chairman of the Governance Committee. In a related move, Gregory A. Smith was named vice chairman of the board, also effective Oct. 16, 2018.

John (Jay) B. Williams
Williams is a recognized leader in finance, with a 37-year career in the banking industry. He also served as president and CEO of the Milwaukee Public Museum. He currently holds board positions for a variety of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. He has an honorary doctorate of law degree from St. Norbert College in DePere, Wis., where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee. Williams has been on the Church Mutual board of directors since March 19, 2008.

Gregory A. Smith
Smith is an executive-in-residence and lecturer at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee's Lubar School of Business and managing partner of Barnett Management Advisors. His previous roles include former senior vice president and chief financial officer of Marshall & Illsley Corp. and M&I Bank, both headquartered in Milwaukee. Smith joined Church Mutual’s board of directors on August 20, 2014, and was elected by the policyholders on March 18, 2015.

Walter H. White stepping down
Walter H. White Jr., who has served as a valued member of the Church Mutual board for more than 26 years, announced his retirement from the board effective Dec. 7, 2018. “Since joining our board of directors in 1992, Walter has provided strong, steady leadership and was a key contributor to our growth and success,” said Richard Poirier, Church Mutual’s president and CEO and a fellow board member. “We can’t thank him enough for his service.”

About Church Mutual

Church Mutual Insurance Company, founded in 1897, offers specialized insurance for religious organizations of all denominations, public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities, senior living facilities, camps and conference centers, and nonprofit and human services organizations throughout the United States. Church Mutual markets most lines of commercial property and liability insurance, including multi-peril, workers' compensation and commercial auto insurance. In addition to insurance, Church Mutual provides a spectrum of value-added solutions that benefit its customers. Church Mutual holds the following honors:

  • A.M. Best Company "A" (excellent) rating
  • 2018 Ward’s 50 Top Performing Property and Casualty Insurers
  • BenchmarkPortal Top 10 National Customer Service Center
  • Wisconsin 75 by Deloitte US, 2016, 2017 and 2018
  • Futuremakers Partner, by Wisconsin Technical College System
  • Celent Model Insurer for innovation and emerging technologies
  • Award in Innovation for entrepreneurialism and innovation, by National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies

For media inquiries, contact Dawn Bernatz, director of corporate communications, at (715) 539-4574 or

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Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. (a stock insurer)
P.O. Box 357 | 3000 Schuster Lane | Merrill, WI 54452-0357
Telephone (800) 554-2642 or (715) 536-5577

© 2022 Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. All rights reserved. Protecting the Greater Good is a registered trademark of Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I.

Church Mutual is a stock insurer whose policyholders are members of the parent mutual holding company formed on 1/1/20. S.I. = a stock insurer.