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National MI preparing to promote Claudia Merkle to CEO

Will replace Bradley Shuster, who is shifting to executive chairman

For the first time since its founding in 2012, National MI will soon be under the leadership of someone other than Bradley Shuster.

Shuster, who has served as CEO and chairman of the board since founding the company in 2012, will soon be stepping down as CEO and transitioning to executive chairman.

Filling Shuster’s shoes as CEO will be Claudia Merkle, who the company promoted to president just a few months ago.

According to the company, Merkle will take over as CEO on Jan. 1, 2019.

Shuster will serve as executive chairman and remain “engaged” with the company, working closely Merkle.

In his new role, Shuster will continue to lead the board of directors, oversee special projects and communications with stakeholders, and collaborate with Merkle to define the company’s long-term goals and direct its strategy, operational plans and policies, the company said in a release.

As CEO, Merkle will be responsible for the company’s day-to-day management, financial performance and long-term growth strategy.

Merkle will also join the company’s board of directors, increasing the board’s size to eight members.

Merkle joined National MI in May 2012 as senior vice president of underwriting fulfillment and risk operations, and worked her way up through the ranks there.

In 2013, Merkle was promoted to executive vice president and chief of insurance operations, then promoted to chief operating officer in 2016, and finally to president in May 2018.

As COO, Merkle was named a HousingWire Magazine Vanguard Award winner in 2017. The Vanguard Awards are reserved for the true leaders in the housing economy. HousingWire Magazine also honored Merkle as a Women of Influence winner in 2016.

“I am honored to succeed Brad as CEO and to build upon such a strong foundation.  This is an exciting time at National MI, as we are leading the mortgage insurance industry with Rate GPSSM, our granular pricing system, and with reinsurance structures that provide unique stability and loss protection across all market cycles,” Merkle said. “I’m looking forward to working with our talented executive management team, Brad, and the rest of the board of directors to continue to deliver results for all of our stakeholders.”

Shuster was also named a Vanguard Award winner, receiving the award in 2016. And now, he’s preparing to hand the day-to-day running of his company over to Merkle.

“Claudia has been with National MI from the very beginning as one of our first employees. She was instrumental in developing and leading our operations team and, more recently, has led the growth of our sales organization and established it as the model for the industry,” Shuster said. 

“The board and I have been working on this succession plan and a smooth transition of leadership for some time. The success that National MI enjoyed over this last year is what the board and I envisioned when we promoted Claudia to the role of president,” Shuster added.

“I look forward to continuing to partner with her as my successor,” Shuster concluded. “I have the utmost confidence in Claudia and the entire executive team, and believe the future is bright for our employees, customers, and shareholders.”

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