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COUNTRY Financial CEO Announces 2012 Retirement

July 5, 2011

John D. Blackburn, Lincoln, Chief Executive Officer of COUNTRY Financial, will retire January 2012. The announcement was made today to COUNTRY employees and financial representatives.

In sharing this news, Blackburn said, “I am extremely grateful to have worked with exceptional management, dedicated people and a quality board during my years at COUNTRY.

“Our business is about helping people protect what they have, save for the future and achieve financial security, and I am proud of the many services we provide our clients,” Blackburn added. “It has been my privilege to lead this organization for 10 years. I have great confidence in our people and believe COUNTRY is well-positioned to enhance and build upon our long-standing history of superior customer service.”

Blackburn has served as CEO since August 2001. He is also retiring as chairman of the boards of directors of Cotton States Insurance Group, Alpharetta, Ga.; Holyoke Mutual Insurance Company of Salem, Mass.; and Middlesex Mutual Assurance Company of Middletown, Conn.

In the past decade, the COUNTRY Group doubled its geographic footprint through strategic alliances, growing from operations in 23 states to across most of the nation. During that same period, assets for the enterprise grew from $8.1 billion to $14.3 billion while annual revenues increased from $2 billion to $3.3 billion. COUNTRY has been continuously ranked on the Fortune 1000 list since 2004 and is currently ranked No. 624.  

About Blackburn

Blackburn is a past chair of the Board of Governors of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America and immediate past chair of the Board of Trustees of Lincoln College, Lincoln. He also serves as second vice chair on the Board of Directors of Memorial Health System.

President Philip Nelson indicated the search process has begun for a new chief executive officer.  

About COUNTRY Financial

COUNTRY Financial, founded in 1925, serves one million households and businesses throughout the United States. COUNTRY has consistently received high ratings for financial strength, operating performance and customer loyalty from independent rating agencies. For more information go to