Robert M. Zak, recently retired as president and CEO of Merchants Insurance Group, has been named the Chair of its Board of Directors, effective April 1.
Mr. Zak succeeds Edward G. Wright, who will remain as a board member for the company. Charles E. Makey, III, will become president on April 1, 2021.
“Bob is one of finest and most competent managers and leaders I have ever had the pleasure of working with,” said Mr. Wright. “We’re going to miss his daily guidance, but we feel fortunate that he will be remaining in the picture as chair of the board.”
In September 2020, Mr. Zak also began serving as the board chair for NAMIC, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies.
Under Mr. Wright’s governance and Mr. Zak’s leadership, the company has experienced many years of favorable operating results, and produced direct written premiums of more than $400 million and policyholders’ surplus of more than $260 million in 2020.
Mr. Zak’s contributions to philanthropic and civic work in the Western New York community span his professional career. He is currently involved with 100 Club of Buffalo and Western New York, Inc.; the Buffalo State College Council; InVest Buffalo Niagara; the Long Island Insurance Education Foundation; the Prentice Family Foundation; and Rand Capital Corporation, among others. Mr. Zak formerly served in a governance role for the following organizations: Canisius College Wehle School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council, Canisius High School, Great Lakes Health System, Kaleida Health, National Multiple Sclerosis Society of WNY, University at Buffalo School of Management Dean’s Advisory Council, and United Way of Buffalo & Erie County.
After a brief career in public accounting, Mr. Zak joined Merchants in 1985 as the company’s Controller. He advanced in the Company’s Finance area and became the Chief Financial Officer before his promotion to President and CEO in 1995.
A graduate of State University of New York at Buffalo, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree as well as an MBA with concentrations in Accounting and Economics.