John F. Barrett

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John F. Barrett (born March 16, 1949) is the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western & Southern Financial Group. Barrett has served as CEO since 1994 and as president since 1989. Under Barrett's leadership, Western & Southern has grown from a small Midwestern life insurance company founded in 1888 into a national financial services enterprise and has doubled in size every five years for the past 15 years.[1] Western & Southern has assets owned, managed and under care in excess of $60 billion as of March 2013 and is one of the eight highest-rated life insurance groups in the world, based on its Standard & Poor's rating.[2]

During the Great Recession, Western & Southern maintained strong economic health with Barrett at the helm. The company was able to develop, through its subsidiary Eagle Realty Group the largest office building in southern Ohio, the Great American Tower at Queen City Square.[3] Barrett's leadership in securing a tenant for the Tower helped to ensure its success.[4] The Great American Tower, opened in January 2011, is part of the Queen City Square complex that totals more than one million square feet.[5]

John F. Barrett

Early life[edit]

Barrett graduated from St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati.[6] He obtained a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Cincinnati in 1971. He was a member of the Ohio Epsilon chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at UC. He was president and CEO of the Bank of New York (Delaware) before joining Western & Southern in 1987.[7]

Business and community involvement[edit]

A business leader and supporter of the Cincinnati community, Barrett is the recipient of the following awards and distinctions: the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Cincinnati (June 2011);[8] the "Connecting Cultures and Communities Award" presented by the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission (May 2010);[9] the most influential person in the Greater Cincinnati area by Cincy magazine in its annual Power 100 list (February 2009);[10] and the 2007 Outstanding Community Service Award from Volunteers of America.[11]

He received the 2008 Volunteer Leadership Award from the Health Improvement Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati for leading a joint task force created in 2001 to address the low number of physicians in Greater Cincinnati. Under his leadership, Cincinnati MD Resource Center was established, and in 2004, Cincinnati was launched.[12]

He gave the commencement address to the University of Cincinnati's Class of 2011 at its June ceremonies.[13]

Barrett is president of the Association of Ohio Life Insurance Companies and serves as a member of Washington, D.C.'s Business Roundtable and the Financial Services Roundtable.[14] In 2006, he led statewide tax reform in Ohio as part of his involvement as chairman of the Ohio Business Roundtable.[15]

He previously served on the boards of many Cincinnati arts organizations, including the Cincinnati Arts Association, the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Taft Museum of Art.[14]

Barrett has served on the board of directors of Convergys Corporation since 1998 and Cintas since 2011.[16] He formerly served on several other boards, including Fifth Third Bancorp, The Andersons, Inc. and Touchstone Investment Trusts.[17]

In 2013, Barrett led the controversial purchase of the Anna Louise Inn, a historic property and shelter for low-income women overlooking a scenic park around which Western & Southern has developed other real estate. The story of the contentious legal struggle received national attention and finally culminated in May 2013 when the Inn's owner, Cincinnati Union Bethel, sold the property to Western & Southern for $4 million.[18]


  1. ^ "Top Work Places 2010," Cincinnati Enquirer, June 27, 2010, Section K. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "A Smart Approach," American Executive, March 2010.
  4. ^ "Regions tallest tower opens Tuesday," by Lisa Bernard-Kuhn, Cincinnati Enquirer, Jan. 11, 2011.
  5. ^ "Topping Out for Great American Tower," by Lisa Bernard, Cincinnati Enquirer, Jan. 19, 2010.
  6. ^ Bolton, Douglas (1990-07-24). "Barrett Emerges as Leader - Western-Southern Still in Family Hands". The Cincinnati Post. E. W. Scripps Company. Retrieved 2011-01-15. John [Barrett] worked at Cincinnati's Railway Express during summers between sessions at St. Xavier High School and the University of Cincinnati. 
  7. ^ Making an Idea Succeed by Gerald E. Moore. The Western and Southern Life Insurance Company, 1988, pg. 167.
  8. ^ "Western & Southern Chairman, President and CEO John F. Barrett to Address UC’s June Graduates," University of Cincinnati news release "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-07. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  9. ^ "Champions for connecting cultures and communities honored by Cincinnati Human Relations Commission," The Cincinnati Herald, May 29, 2010. 29/Section_B/Champions_for_connecting_cultures_and_communities_.html
  10. ^ "The Power 100: The Tristate's Most Influential People," Cincy The Magazine for Business Professionals, February 2009.
  11. ^ "Volunteers of America Honors John F. Barrett with Outstanding Community Service Award" Volunteers of America news release
  12. ^ Health Improvement Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati 2007-2008 Annual Report "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  13. ^ "WATCH: UC Celebrates the Graduating Class of 2011," University of Cincinnati news release "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-07. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  14. ^ a b "Volunteers of America Honors John F. Barrett with Outstanding Community Service Award" Volunteers of America news release
  15. ^ "Ohio Tax Reform: Year 2 in Review"
  16. ^ “Barrett joins Cintas board,” Cincinnati Enquirer, Dec. 2, 2011
  17. ^ Bloomberg Businessweek
  18. ^ "John Barrett toughed out Anna Louise Inn fight," Cincinnati Enquirer, May 15, 2013

External links[edit]