Close had been Valent Group’s chief operating officer and, prior to that, he spent nearly 30 years at Travelers.
“I’m incredibly honored to serve Valent Group and our employees, clients and carriers as we move forward together,” said Close. “Our vision is to maintain an industry leading culture for our employees while achieving above average growth across all of our offices. I look forward to continuing the momentum we’ve gained over the past few years and supporting the agency in every possible way.”
Close succeeds Paul Barber, who was named group president in 2017. During that time Barber successfully positioned the agency for long-term growth and success.
“Kurt is a transformational leader who brings both deep technical experience and keen business acumen to all aspects of the agency’s operations,” said Barber. “This blend of giftings is exactly what Valent needs to continue our current momentum and grow aggressively in the future.”
Barber will be moving into a new role at Valent Group, serving as market development advisor, where he will continue to represent the agency in the business community and connect the team to organizational leaders who are looking to experience a Fortune 1000 risk consulting experience.
Close is a graduate of Samford University where he played four years of college basketball and earned a degree in mathematics and business. Originally from Sylacauga, he spent 10 years in Atlanta before coming home to Birmingham, where he has been for the past 12 years.
Founded in 1944 by the late Elton B. Stephens, EBSCO Industries Inc. has evolved into a global company with businesses in a range of industries including information services, publishing and digital media, outdoor products, real estate, manufacturing and distribution and business services. Headquartered in Birmingham, EBSCO operates divisions and subsidiaries in 23 countries, employing almost 5,000 people.