Home Madison Telisa Yancy gets promotion at American Family

Telisa Yancy gets promotion at American Family


American Family Chief Operating Officer Telisa Yancy, named one of the most influential Black leaders in Wisconsin in 2016, will be promoted to a top leadership position reporting directly to President and CEO-elect Bill Westrate, who will succeed retiring CEO Jack Salzwedel on Jan. 1, 2022.

Yancy will become president of American Family Direct, leading the companies that sell directly to customers through partners, call centers and online – CONNECT, The General and Homesite.  She will succeed Fabian Fondriest, who will also retire at the end of 2021.

“Telisa is a driven, passionate and inspirational leader,” Westrate said. “She understands customers, products, how to drive growth, and how to generate profitable results. Her consumer expertise and her ability to work with partners make her the ideal choice to lead our direct companies.”

Yancy’s promotion is one of several changes at the top of the Madison-based insurance company, which said in a press release that it was “naming new leaders and adapting its leadership structure as part of its ongoing transformation and focus on providing customers with insurance products and services that meet their needs and preferences.”

Also in the restructuring, Jessie Stauffacher will serve in the new position of exclusive and independent agency president. Yancy will become president of American Family Direct, succeeding Fabian Fondriest, who will also retire at the end of 2021.

“American Family’s approach to our operating companies has always been a balance of providing autonomy so they can build on their success by doing what they do best, while taking advantage of our scale to create consistencies and efficiencies across our group of companies to deliver strong value and service to our customers,” Westrate said. “These leadership changes reflect that thoughtful evolution.”

Other leadership changes and retirements will result in new presidents leading the direct operating group companies. Sharena Ali will move from her COO role to become CONNECT president; Tiku Raval, COO at The General, will become president; Troy Van Beek, currently American Family direct chief financial officer, will become Homesite president.

Chris Listau will continue to be president and CEO at Main Street America.

Three additional leadership positions with oversight across similar functions at the group’s operating companies have also been created: Chief marketing officer, chief underwriting officer and chief partnerships officer.

Elicia Azali.

Filling the new position of chief marketing officer for the group is Elicia Azali, currently chief revenue officer at The General. Azali will lead the marketing and customer functions across the enterprise.

Filling the new position of chief underwriting officer is Andrew McElwee, who’s now COO at Homesite. McElwee will lead insurance product underwriting across the group.

Filling the new position of chief partnerships officer is Tony Scavongelli, currently serving as both chief legal officer and chief partnerships officer at Homesite. In this expanded role, Scavongelli will focus on growing partnerships for all companies.

“These changes continue to drive our strategy forward, building an inclusive culture and further aligning our group of companies for collective growth, customer focus, efficiency and success,” Westrate said. “I, and other leaders, will continue to support these talented colleagues as they transition into their new roles.”

American Family Insurance is a founding member of Madison365.