NU Online News Service, Jan. 28, 12:49 p.m. EST

Columbus, Ohio-based Grange Insurance announced that its chief executive officer resigned today and will be replaced by Grange’s chief financial officer, Tom Welch.

The provider of auto, home, life and business insurance protection said Bob James is retiring and heading to the West Coast to fulfill family obligations after serving as president and chief executive officer for a year. “It is with great sadness that I leave such a great organization, and I wish everyone at the company the best in the future,” said Mr. James.

Mr. James worked in the property and casualty industry for more than 37 years with companies such as Allstate, AIG, MetLife and CNA. He also was senior vice president of mortgage operations and insurance executive at Bank of America immediately prior to joining Grange.

Mr. Welch joined Grange in 2001 as president of the Grange Life Insurance Company. He was appointed chief financial officer in 2008. Previously, he held executive positions with Farmers Group, Ohio State Life and Investors Guaranty Life Insurance Companies, Central Benefits Mutual Insurance Company, and Conseco Inc.

“The Grange Board of Directors would like to thank Bob for his service to Grange, and we wish him and his family well,” said Michael V. Parrott, Grange Insurance board chairman. “We are fortunate to have someone with Tom Welch’s ability to lead the company at this time. We have great confidence in our entire management team to lead Grange through this transition and to allow the board to continue to focus on long-term leadership.”