Senior Vice President Tom Watson To Succeed Kunzke
Wisconsin Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company President and CEO Katja Kunzke is retiring after more than 17 years in the top spot. Kunzke took over the position in June of 2004. She will leave WILMIC as the longest-serving President and CEO in the company’s 35-year history.
Kunzke piloted WILMIC through a wave of change in technology, shifts in the lawyer population in Wisconsin, and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. During her tenure, WILMIC has paid out almost $6 million in dividends to policyholders. The company also moved in recent years to online delivery of many services, including virtual CLE programming during the pandemic.
Kunzke joined WILMIC in 1989, just three years after its creation, developing the company’s in-house claims department after being in private practice for several years and then working at Rural Insurance. Kunzke says her career has been everything she ever hoped it could be. “WILMIC is an amazing success. I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to be part of that success, and humbled by the faith our policyholders, our board, our business partners, and our staff have placed in me. I could not be prouder of all that we have accomplished.”
Kunzke will step down from her position as CEO February 1`, 2022, when Senior Vice President Tom Watson will take over. Kunzke will remain with the company through May, when her term as President comes to an end.
WILMIC Board of Directors Names Tom Watson To Succeed Kunzke
After a six-month national search process, the WILMIC Board of Directors recently voted unanimously to appoint Tom Watson as the company’s next CEO. Watson has been with the company for almost 17 years, serving most of that time as Senior Vice President and Director of Marketing, Communications and Risk Management.
Watson will take over as CEO February 1, and then be up for election by the board in June to also fill the position of President when Katja Kunzke officially retires.
“I am humbled and honored that the board has shown their trust in me to help carry on our mission to Wisconsin lawyers,” Watson said. “WILMIC’s role as not only a professional liability insurance company but also as a resource and partner for lawyers will continue. We will build on what we have done over the past several decades, and stay nimble and agile as the profession changes and lawyers need different services.”