Bob Bailey is the retired Chairman, CEO, and President of the State Auto Insurance Companies headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. He became bored with retirement on the third day and put his extensive business experience to work in a new career as a public speaker, business consultant, and author.
After hundreds of speeches over the next 18 years on how to build a more successful business (with emphasis on leadership, customer service, sales and business ethics), he became weary of airline travel and retired from the speaking and consulting portion of his career. He now spends his time writing. He is the author of nine books.
Under his leadership of State Auto (from 1983 through 2000), several companies were added to the State Auto Group, and he was instrumental in taking the company public in 1991 with the formation of State Auto Financial Corporation.
Since the Financial Corporation’s first full year as a public corporation until his retirement, compound average annual growth rates were: revenues 14%; earnings per share 23%; equity 14%; assets 17%; and book value per share 16%. From 1991 through 1997, State Auto stock was the 85th best performer on the NASDAQ exchange.
Under his leadership of State Auto, sales rose from $224 million to more than $1 billion; net worth increased from $139 million to nearly $1 billion and State Auto became one of the top performing property and casualty insurance companies in the United States. Service levels improved dramatically under what he calls an “overwhelming service” objective. At the same time, employee morale rose to the highest level ever, thanks to a strong focus on communications, recognition, and motivation. The accomplishments of the Companies have been noted in publications by Tom Peters, co-author of the best-selling books on business management—In Search of Excellence, A Passion for Excellence, and others.
Following retirement from State Auto, he was a consultant for a Swiss company that invests in insurance companies in the U.S. and for two years was chairman of one of its companies.
He was raised on a Kansas farm and, following his discharge from the military where he served as an instructor at the Adjutant Generals School, he entered the insurance business in 1958 with the Western Casualty and Surety Company of Fort Scott, Kansas, now a part of the Liberty Group.
He is a graduate of Pittsburg (Kansas) State University following two years at Fort Scott (Kansas) Community College. In 2001 FSCC named him its outstanding alumnus, and the Robert and Sylvia Bailey Hall, housing classrooms, faculty offices, a student center and library, was dedicated in 2011. Pittsburg State awarded him its Meritorious Achievement Award in 2007, the highest honor Pitt State bestows on its alumni. In 2000 the Professional Insurance Agents Association named him the Insurance Industry Person of the Year.
He holds the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Associate in Risk Management designations. He is director emeritus and former chairman of Franklin University on whose board he served for many years. In 2006 Franklin awarded him an Honorary Doctorate Degree.
He has served on the boards and is a former chairman of several associations: the National Association of Independent Insurers (now the Property Casualty Insurance Association of America), a trade association of several hundred property/casualty insurance companies; the Alliance for Productive Technology; the Ohio Insurance Institute; and the Griffith Foundation for Insurance Education.
He has served on a number of other boards, including American Institute for Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters, Insurance Institute of America, Insurance Institute for Applied Ethics, Insurance Value Added Network Services; Methodist Theological School, Grant Medical Center Development Foundation; Private Industry Council, Jobs for Columbus Graduates, I Know I Can, Fayette County (Ohio) YMCA, and others.
He and his wife Sylvia have been married 61 years and take pride in their three children - Janet, Nancy, and Jim. 'They have become exemplary adults with exceptional value systems and work ethics, and they are outstanding mentors for their own children and their work associates," Bob says. Bob and Sylvia also take pride in their six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.