Marketing, Innovation Chief Williams Leaving Nationwide; Jones, Mahaffey to Assume Roles

October 23, 2019

The man behind Nationwide’s “On Your Side” advertising and marketing for the past five years, along with initiatives targeting emerging businesses and innovation, is leaving the giant insurer.

Terrance Williams is stepping down in November as executive vice president/chief marketing officer and president of Emerging Businesses. In his dual roles, he oversaw 11 direct reports and a team of 1,300 in leading all aspects of marketing, including associated digital and analytics efforts. The Emerging Business Group he headed includes legacy emerging business, innovation initiatives and a $100 million venture capital fund.

To succeed Williams, Nationwide has appointed two people to positions.

Ramon Jones will serve as Nationwide’s new chief marketing officer. A 19-year veteran of the company, Jones has held numerous leadership roles including regional vice president of Nationwide’s Western U.S. operations, marketing leader of Nationwide’s Property/Casualty businesses, and most recently Financial Services marketing leader.

Terrance Williams

The company also announced it is expanding the responsibilities of its chief strategy officer to include the company’s innovation initiatives. Mike Mahaffey, Nationwide’s chief strategy officer, will assume responsibility for innovation initiatives.

Mahaffey was recently elevated to the role of chief strategy and corporate development officer. He served as chief risk officer as of 2008, and since 2014 as chief strategy officer since 2014. Mahaffey joined Nationwide in 2005 from Deloitte Consulting.

As CMO, Jones will report to Chief Executive Officer Kirt Walker and be responsible for Nationwide’s brand and marketing strategy, advertising, creative services, social media and corporate communications.

Ramon Jones

CEO Walker said Jones is well-prepared to take over marketing. “During his nearly two decades at Nationwide, he has held numerous leadership roles in the business and in marketing that make him uniquely qualified to promote and protect the Nationwide brand and position him to drive further business success.”

Mahaffey will take on additional responsibility for innovation-related initiatives, also reporting to Walker.

“Our emphasis on innovation remains critical to our continued success,” said Walker. “Mike will be responsible for building upon a strong, technology-focused foundation, including our venture capital initiatives, strategic partnerships with companies like Amazon, and new platforms like the recently-announced Spire, a digital insurance platform for self-reliant millennials.”

The company did not say where Williams is going.

Mike Mahaffey

Williams, who has been with the company for 25 years including eight years as president of Nationwide Agribusiness, took over the top marketing position in 2015 after his predecessor Matt Jauchius left the firm. Jauchius came under criticism on social media for the so-called “dead boy” ad in which a kid is killed that aired during the 2015 Super Bowl. The company was promoting its “Make Safe Happen” program about ways to increase safety at home. “We weren’t trying to sell insurance with this spot, we were trying to save children’s lives,” Jauchius told Ad Age.

The past five years has seen Nationwide brand itself under one name, dropping affiliate monikers including Harleysville and Alilied. To highlight the shift to one Nationwide brand, the company introduced an updated version of the Nationwide N and Eagle brand mark that harkens back to the company’s heritage and has played up the famous 50-year-old tag line, “Nationwide is on your side.”

In 2018, the Columbus, Ohio-based carrier, which has traditionally sold its auto, commercial, homeowners, farm and life policies through both exclusive and independent agents announced a plan to transition all distribution to the independent agency system by 2020.

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