Citizens gets veteran CEO

Jul 28, 2008

St. Petersburg Times–July 25, 2008

By Tom Zucco, Times Staff Writer

James R. Malone, the founder of a Naples consulting firm that specializes in turning around financially troubled companies, was appointed Friday to chair the board of Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

State-backed Citizens is Florida’s largest property insurer with 1.2-million policyholders and about $425-billion in total risk exposure.

Malone, 65, is no stranger to the board room. He has been CEO of nearly a dozen companies, including Grimes Aerospace, Mail Contractors of America, and Cenveo, a provider of print and visual communications. And from 1993 to 1997, he served as chief executive officer of Anchor Glass Container, the long-troubled Tampa company that was saddled with losses during the mid and late 1980s under then-CEO Vince Naimoli.

Malone is currently the founding managing partner of Qorval LLC, an investment banking, financial advisory and turnaround firm.

"I don’t want anybody thinking that Citizens is even close to financially distressed,” Malone said in an interview Friday. "It’s not that kind of a situation.”

Malone replaces Bruce Douglas, who announced in June he would not seek reappointment. Like Douglas, Malone begins his tenure with no direct property insurance industry experience.

"Jim’s tremendous experience leading major corporations and his reputation for improving business practices will greatly benefit Florida’s insurance consumers," said Florida CFO Alex Sink, who made the appointment. Malone will receive no salary to lead Citizens.

Malone said his lack of an insurance background could be helpful. "Because I don’t have a strong bias going in,” he said, "I have no selfish interest one way or another, and I don’t have a long history of relationships to protect.”