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Richard Ollis, left, is now chairman and CEO, with Richard Russell as president.
Richard Ollis, left, is now chairman and CEO, with Richard Russell as president.

Ollis/Akers/Arney CEO relinquishes president position

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Ollis/Akers/Arney CEO Richard Ollis relinquished the title of president to General Counsel Richard Russell.

In the move announced this morning, Ollis became chairman and CEO and Russell retained his general counsel job in addition to the new role as president. The insurance firm’s board voted on the change in January, said Ollis, who took over the chairman position from his retired father Ron. Ollis had been president and CEO since 2002.

“It has been our goal to start transitioning the operational leadership from myself and David Arney to Richard Russell,” Ollis said. “This is a part of an overall succession and leadership plan that we have implemented.”

Ollis said Russell and Chief Operating Officer Arney work together on daily operations. Ollis and Arney joined up in 2015 when Springfield-based Ollis & Co. bought Branson-based Akers & Arney. The combined firm has an employee stock ownership plan.

Newly selected for a vacant City Council seat, Ollis said his change to chairman and CEO of the 50-employee company allows him to set the vision and culture and be more involved with community relations and client interactions.

“I plan to be more active out in the field, so to speak,” he said.

Russell joined the insurance firm in 2014 after working as a partner for law firm Husch Blackwell LLP.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity for me. I enjoy working for our folks,” Russell said of his promotion. “It’s primarily assisting Richard and serving on the management team — additional capacity and bench strength.”

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