27 February 2024News

Markel Group names new chief operating officer

Markel Group, which has substantial operations in Bermuda, has named Mike Heaton as its chief operating officer effective this week. 

Heaton will oversee the day-to-day operations of the holding company while continuing to develop the system that supports Markel Group's businesses. 

Markel said Heaton was most recently executive vice president, where he led the transformation from Markel Corporation to Markel Group Inc. by establishing a more formal holding company identity, structure and team. From 2016 to 2022, Heaton served as president of Markel Ventures, and he was chief operating officer of Markel Ventures before that.

"Mike has been by my side for close to two decades now," said chief executive officer Tom Gayner. "He is an incredible operator and thought partner who played a huge role in building the team, structure, and processes that made Markel Group into a great home for businesses. Operating with this level of autonomy, accountability, and love for our companies is not easy, but the system that Mike and the team created, and will continue to evolve, makes it possible."

As executive vice president and chief operating officer, Heaton will oversee the day-to-day operations for Markel Group with an intentional focus on three core priorities: pursuing the best capital allocation opportunities, attracting and supporting top company leaders, and amplifying the cultural values in the Markel Style. He will continue to report to Gayner from Markel Group's global headquarters in Glen Allen, Virginia.

"There is always more work to be done, but I really do think that we can be the best home in the world for businesses," said Heaton. "A place where people with shared values have the space and support that they need to win. To have the opportunity to help build something like this is the honour of a lifetime, and I'm going to give everything I can to make it happen."

Markel is coming off a year when it reported net income of $146.98 million compared to a loss of $23.72 million. The profit was largely driven by a turnaround in net realised investments from a loss of $1.6 billion to a profit of $1.5 billion.

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