COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 2, 2020 – David L. Kaufman, immediate past CEO of Encova Insurance (formerly Motorists Insurance Group), has been named interim president of Capital University.
“We are delighted that Dave Kaufman has accepted the position of interim president,” said Bernie Ostrowski, chair of Capital’s Board of Trustees, in announcing the selection. “Dave has the leadership experience to keep Capital moving forward and address the challenges that all institutions of higher education are facing in light of the current unrest as well as ongoing concerns of COVID-19. He brings a strong track record of building fiscal sustainability, inclusive collaboration and stakeholder engagement.”
A well-respected business leader in the Central Ohio region and beyond, Kaufman started his career as an actuary with Connecticut General and then as a financial analyst with Capital Holding Corporation. He started at Motorists in 1986, joining the executive leadership team as senior vice president and CIO in 2000. He was elected executive vice president by the Motorists Mutual board of directors in 2010 and then was named executive vice president of all companies in the group in 2011. He was elected president and COO in 2012 and became president and CEO of all companies in the group a year later.
“Dave’s business acumen and widespread respect from Central Ohio community leaders, coupled with his appreciation for Capital’s role as a leader in higher education, makes me confident that he will help us position the University for success long term,” Ostrowski said.
Kaufman says Capital University’s strength comes from a rich history of academic excellence and student success.
“It’s an honor to join the Capital leadership team. Capital is uniquely positioned to support students during these unusual times that present unprecedented challenges for students as well as all of higher education,” Kaufman said. “My immediate priorities include preparing for the fall semester, uniting the campus community around shared goals, and supporting a successful leadership transition.”
“The local Bexley community and Columbus amenities provide the opportunity to create an unmatched student experience with unique co-curricular and service opportunities. Building meaningful relationships among education, business and government is crucial for the long-term success of the University.”
Alex Fischer, President of the Columbus Partnership, expressed his support for the interim appointment of Kaufman, saying, “Capital made an excellent choice for their interim president. Dave is an outstanding business leader and champion of education. His experience in this community will serve the University well during this time of transition.”
Kaufman’s appointment, which is expected to last two years or less, follows the May 18, 2020, announcement of the suspension of the search for a permanent president. “We had a number of highly qualified candidates for Capital’s presidency,” said Ostrowski. “Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, we couldn’t conduct the in-person, on-campus interviews that we ultimately determined were essential to allow the Capital community to get to know the candidates and for the candidates to get to know the University.”
While there is disappointment that the presidential search for a permanent leader was suspended, Ostrowski said the University will benefit from an interim leader who brings stability during a tumultuous time. Like other Universities across the country, Capital is addressing budgetary challenges that have been exacerbated by the pandemic and is working to repair strained relationships within the Capital community. Kaufman will be charged with leading the University through these exceptional times and preparing it for its next president.
Kaufman earned bachelor’s degrees in both mathematics and economics, graduating cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University. He went on to earn the ACAS designation and is a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Griffith Insurance Education Foundation and is a member of CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion.
As co-chair of the Insurance Industry Resource Council formed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Kaufman led the development of insurance and risk management programs in 12 universities across the state.
He is the founder of Future Possibilities, a nonprofit organization that partners with Columbus City Schools to provide life-skills coaching to youth in underserved communities. His community service includes past or present board positions with the American Association of Insurance Services, American Property Casualty Insurers Association, TrustedChoice.com, NAMIC Property and Casualty Conference Board, Ohio Insurance Institute, Columbus Partnership, the Ronald McDonald House, and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce.
Kaufman will begin his role with the University on July 1, 2020. He will fill the position being vacated by Elizabeth L. Paul, Ph.D., who is leaving Capital after four years to assume the presidency of Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y.
Kaufman’s family includes his wife, Nan, and three daughters. He is an active member of All Saints Lutheran Church in Worthington.
About Capital University
Located in the Columbus, Ohio, community of Bexley, Capital University is a comprehensive, private university centered in contemporary Lutheran values offering undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs in the liberal arts, sciences and professions. Since its founding in 1830 and charter as a university in 1850, Capital has been an agent in shaping engaged citizens and purposeful leaders who improve their industries, communities and society.