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Ameritas / About Us / Leadership

Ameritas Leadership Team

Ameritas has a strong leadership team dedicated to helping our customers, honoring our company values and driving business growth.

Click on the names below to learn more about our leaders.

President & Chief Executive Officer, Ameritas

William Lester is a Seward, Nebraska, native with a business degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Lester holds the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) and FLMI (Fellow, Life Management Institute) designations.

Lester began his career with Ameritas in 1983 as a securities analyst with Ameritas Investment Advisors and has held key positions throughout the organization. He was elected president & chief executive officer of Ameritas in January 2020.

Among his many activities in the community, Lester serves on the board of directors for the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI). He is chair and board member of Bryan LGH Health Systems board of directors, a trustee of the University of Nebraska Foundation, serves on the board of advisors for the Nebraska Safety Council and is a board member serving on the executive committee for the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce.

Lester also serves on the board of directors of Universal Surety Company/Inland Insurance Company and the advisory board of U.S. Bank of Lincoln. He also is a member of the CFA Institute.

Leadership Team

Individual Division

Executive Vice President - Individual Division

Ryan Beasley was born in San Antonio, Texas, and grew up in Savannah, Georgia. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in business administration management from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia, and a Master of Science in financial services from the American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Beasley holds the professional designations Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Consultant, and LIMRA Leadership Institute Fellow, among other professional designations and licenses.

Beasley began his career with Ameritas in 2015 as senior vice president – shared distribution. He has worked in the insurance and financial services industry for over 20 years.

Beasley is a member of the NAIFA, Financial Planning Association and GAMA International.

Executive Vice President - Independent Distribution and Investments

Robert M. Jurgensmeier, FSA, MAAA PhotoBob Jurgensmeier is a Hastings, Nebraska, native. He earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Jurgensmeier holds the professional designation Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and is a member of the American Academy of Actuaries.

He has worked in the insurance and financial services industry for over 25 years. He began his career with Ameritas in 2012 as senior vice president and chief actuary – individual division.

Jurgensmeier serves on the boards of CHI Health St. Elizabeth Hospital and CHI Nebraska Heart Hospital. He is also a member and past president of the Nebraska Actuaries Club.

Senior Vice President - Agency and Advisor Distribution and Ameritas Investment Company, LLC President

Kurt ShallowKurt Shallow is a Boston, Massachusetts, native. He earned a Bachelor of Science in public communication and journalism from Boston University. Shallow holds the FINRA Series 7 and 24 securities licenses.

Shallow serves on the distribution committee of the American Council of Life Insurers. He also serves on the board of directors and the president’s advisory committee for the American College of Financial Services. He is also a member of the Industry Association Alignment committee and LIMRA’s Distribution Leaders Roundtable committee.

Shallow joined Ameritas in 2019. He has worked in the insurance and financial services industry for over 30 years.

Senior Vice President - Individual Division

Steven J. Valerius, FLMI PhotoSteven Valerius is a Cincinnati, Ohio, native. He earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Cincinnati. Valerius holds the FLMI (Fellow, Life Management Institute) designation.

Valerius began his career with Union Central in 1986 as an assistant controller and held positions throughout the organization, including president of The Union Central Life Insurance Company. Union Central merged with Ameritas in 2015.

Valerius serves on the president’s advisory council for The American College and is a University of Cincinnati College of Business advisory council member.

He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Ohio Society of CPAs, NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors), and LOMA (Life Office Management Association).

Retirement Plans Division

James M. Kais
Senior Vice President
Retirement Plans

Group Division

Karen M. Gustin, LLIF
Executive Vice President
Group Division

Patrick D. “Drew” Fleming
Senior Vice President
Group Distribution and National Partners

Bruce E. Mieth
Senior Vice President
Group Operations

Kelly J. Wieseler, FSA, MAAA
Senior Vice President,
Group Chief Actuary and Underwriting

Ameritas Investment Partners

James Mikus, CFA, FLMI
President and Chief Executive Officer

Enterprise Services

Susan K. Wilkinson, CPA, FLMI
Executive Vice President,
Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer

Brent F. Korte
Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer

Laura Fender
Senior Vice President, Controller

Christine M. Neighbors, Esq.
Senior Vice President, General Counsel and
Corporate Secretary

April L. Rimpley, LLIF, FLMI
Senior Vice President, Human Resources

Carrie C. Weber
Senior Vice President, Chief Compliance and Risk Officer

Linda A. Whitmire, FSA, MAAA
Senior Vice President, Chief Actuary, Corporate

Richard A. Wiedenbeck
Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer

Board of directors

standing, from left to right

James R. Krieger
Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer
Gallup, Inc.

Kim M. Robak
Senior Partner
Mueller Robak, LLC

Thomas W. “Tommy” Knapp
Academic Director
University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business

Paul C. “Chip” Schorr IV
Senior Managing Director
One Equity Partners

Bryan E. Slone
President
Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Patricia A. McGuire
President
Trinity Washington University

D. Wayne Silby
Founding Chairman
Calvert Funds

sitting, from left to right

William W. Lester
President and Chief Executive Officer

Tonn M. Ostergard
Chair and Chief Executive Officer
Crete Carrier Corporation

JoAnn M. Martin
Vice Chair
Ameritas Mutual Holding Company

John S. “Sid” Dinsdale
Chairman
Pinnacle Bancorp, Inc.

James P. Abel
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
NEBCO, Inc.