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What's Your Opinion of ALTA's New CEO?
by Robert Franco | 2011/08/02 |

Last week ALTA announced that CEO Kurt Pfotenhauer was stepping down to take a job in the private sector (at First American).  In his place, ALTA promoted Michelle Korsmo from COO to CEO.  While ALTA touted her experience in its press release, the folks at the Ohio Association of Independent Title Agents (OAITA) have voiced concerns about ALTA's choice.  What do you think?  Was Korsmo a good choice to lead ALTA, or should they still be looking?

Source of Title Blog ::

On July 27, ALTA announced Korsmo's promotion to CEO. 

Korsmo has been serving as Chief Operating Officer for ALTA. She joined ALTA in 2008 when she was named senior vice president, marketing and member programs. Since coming to ALTA, Korsmo has helped guide the association to record membership and revenues, while increasing contributions to the Title Insurance Political Action Committee.

As for her experience prior to joining ALTA, it had this to say:

Prior to joining ALTA, Korsmo was the executive vice president of the Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Foundation, where she managed a team of 52 people and a $10 million budget, and grew the organization from one state chapter to 21 in four years. She helped build the foundation's grassroots capability to promote solution-oriented policy to local, state and federal government. Before that, Korsmo served three years as deputy chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao, where she managed non-political agency heads, served as a member of the budget committee, exercised approval authority on all Departmental action to be published in the Federal Register, and developed an outreach program to the non-profit community.

The OAITA responded by questioning her background as a qualification to head ALTA:

Who is Michelle Korsmo? Well, she isn’t a title industry veteran. In fact, she has no background in title or real estate — unless you count the last three years as COO of ALTA.  Prior to joining ALTA, Korsmo was the executive vice president of the Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Foundation, where she managed a team of 52 people and a $10 million budget, and grew the organization from one state chapter to 21 in four years.  At AFP, she dabbled in a range of politically charged subject matter.

I guess whether ALTA's choice was a good one depends on your perspective.  Should the CEO of the nation's leading title insurance association have a title insurance background, or is it enough (or better) that the CEO have experience leading a large organization?  Basically, is the CEO there to advance industry concerns, or merely serve as an administrative head of the organization?

As the OAITA puts it, after raising concerns about her ties to AFP and its politically charged agenda:

The concern is that ALTA, now being run by a former AFP ideologue in Korsmo, will now commence with the business of ideology instead of being in the business of broad policy for the improvement of the title insurance industry.

So, read ALTA's press release and the OAITA blog and let us know what you think?  What do you think is in store for the future of ALTA and the title industry?




Categories: Land Title Associations, Title Industry

761 words | 3593 views | 1 comments | log in or register to post a comment

Time will tell...
"What do you think is in store for the future of ALTA and the title industry?"--It is unfortunate that the future of ALTA may not be synonymous with the future of the title industry. That is to say that the goals of ALTA do not seem to wholly converge with the best practices for the future of the title industry. The bottom line is that ALTA is supported by the contributions from a large sector of the title industry. Those individuals and companies supporting ALTA are, in fact or by default, supporting the decision to make this individual one of the most visible advocates for the title insurance industry. If the blogwriter of OAITA is the only person who understands this may be an issue, then the industry has spoken. Personally, notwithstanding Ms. Korsmo's experience in other areas, I think the head of any organization needs to have some hands-on experience with the product or service being provided, sold, or advocated by that organization. Time will tell whether Ms. Korsmo will make an effective advocate for the title insurance industry as a whole. Hopefully small business owners and title agents have that time to spare.  
by J. H. | 2011/08/02 | log in or register to post a reply
Source of Title Blog

Robert A. FrancoThe focus of this blog will be on sharing my thoughts and concerns related to the small title agents and abstractors. The industry has changed dramatically over the past ten years and I believe that we are just seeing the beginning. As the evolution continues, what will become of the many small independent title professionals who have long been the cornerstone of the industry?

Robert A. Franco



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