OUR BOARD MEMBERS
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
G. Bruce Laing
Chairman & Secretary
G. Bruce Laing joined the Board in 1972. He started his career as Director of Personnel at Wolverine that same year. He has held various leadership positions of increasing responsibility at Wolverine. From approximately 1979 to 1995 he rose from Vice President of Underwriting to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. From 1995 until 2005 he was President of the Company. In 2005 he became Chairman of the Board. Earlier in his career Mr. Laing also served in the Wolverine Marketing Department in various capacities. He attended University of Michigan and served in the U.S. Army. In 1968 he interned at Lloyds of London. He is a past Chairman of what is currently known as the Insurance Alliance of Michigan (IAM), a former member of the Executive Committee of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), and past President of Dowagiac Rotary Club. Bruce’s over forty-seven year career at the Company in leadership roles in multiple departments, and in the industry gives him a depth and breadth of knowledge that makes him well suited to serve as Chairman and ambassador for Wolverine.
James S. Laing
James Laing, graduated from Stanford University in 1980 with an A.B. Degree in Political Science. He then attended and graduated from The University of Michigan Law School with a J.D. Degree in 1983. Mr. Laing practiced law in Chicago, Illinois for a decade rising to the level of Partner in the firm of Keck, Mahin, and Cate before moving to Wolverine Mutual as General Counsel in 1994. Mr. Laing was elected to the Company Board in 1983. Prior to his promotion to President in 2005, he served as General Counsel and Vice President of the Claims Department. He has served on numerous local and charitable boards throughout his time at Wolverine. Jim’s role as President of the Company, education, and work experience both at Wolverine and in the private practice of law in Chicago qualify him to serve as a Board Member.
Robert D. Gottlieb
Robert Gottlieb, is past Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of Wolverine. He has served on the Board since 1982. He graduated with a B.S. in business at the Leeds School, University of Colorado. Gottlieb served four years in the Air Force including a tour in Viet Nam with the 37th Air Rescue Squadron in Da Nang. Gottlieb completed his MBA in finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1974. He was an assistant to the vice president division K at the First National Bank of Chicago and then joined Lee Enterprises where he was controller of the Helena Independent Record in Montana. During his 33 years at Wolverine, Gottlieb also served as Chairman of the Board of Edgewater Bancorp, Inc., currently a publicly traded holding company for Edgewater Bank that provides various banking and financial services to individual and corporate customers in Berrien, Van Buren, and Cass counties, Michigan. He is a past board member and chair of the investment committee of the Berrien Community Foundation as well as past board member of the Lakeland Hospital foundation and the Lake Michigan College foundation. Gottlieb has also volunteered with United Way, the board of Rotary, the board of Point O’Woods, the board of Signal Point, and the board of the Box Factory, a studio for artists. Mr. Gottlieb’s experience in business and finance speaks for itself and serves a critical function on the Board.
Emily C. Tobias
Attorney / CPA
Emily Tobias, graduated with a BBA from the University of Michigan and from Indiana School of Law, cum laude. She is a CPA in the State of Michigan and a member of the State Bar of Michigan. Tobias was an auditor with Coopers & Lybrand and a tax manager at Arthur Andersen & Co. prior to practicing tax law with Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone. She joined the Wolverine Board in 1986. Emily served on the Michigan State Board of Accountancy, including one term as Chair. She also served as the Chair of the State Bar of Michigan Tax Section. She has volunteered for many years in the Detroit area community including: Leadership and fundraising positions in private and public schools and local organizations; board positions at the Birmingham Historical Museum, Horizons Upward Bound, a program for underprivileged teens affiliated with Cranbrook Schools, and Many Voices…One Song, a community music group. Emily is an elder at First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham and served on the City of Birmingham, Michigan Historic District Commission. Emily’s experience in tax and law and long history as a Board Member provides critical financial, legal and historical knowledge. However, not to be overlooked, is the importance of a Michigan domiciled company like Wolverine having Board representation by a female leader in the Detroit metropolitan area.
John F. Siff
President, Prairie Realty Advisors, Inc.
John Siff, joined the Board in 2008. He graduated from Hobart College, Geneva, NY in 1979 with a B.A. in History. He returned to Chicago to start his career in real estate with Draper and Kramer. John moved to Republic Realty Mortgage Corporation as a Vice President in commercial property finance in 1982. After a successful practice of 10 years, he elected to start his own firm, Prairie Realty Advisors, Inc. The company celebrates its 28th year in business this August. It maintains membership in Mortgage Bankers of America and Urban Land Institute. Its primary business is arranging debt and other forms of capital for investment grade real estate. The company also services a mature portfolio of mortgage loans for a group of insurance companies including Western and Southern Life, Aegon, CorAmerica, SunAmerica Life, Country Life, United Farm Family of Indiana, Royal Neighbors of America, Walker and Dunlop and Columbian Life.
Having real estate finance and investment experience enabled Mr. Siff to branch out as an investor. In 1996, he was recruited to raise capital for a de Novo Bank called Northside Community Bank. He serves on the Board of Directors as a founding Director since the opening of Northside Community Bank. During his tenure with Northside he has had multiple roles including head of the Audit Committee for 10 years. In 2006, he formed a vertical real estate investment company called Prairie Realty Holding LLC together with a development entity called Criterion 3. In 2012, PRA Holding branched out to diversify its asset holdings. Today it holds venture interests in 10 operating entities from technology startups to medical research companies and gaming manufacturing.
He and his Family actively support many Chicago based institutions including current or former board memberships on the Illinois Landmarks Preservation Council, Lincoln Park Zoo, and Shirley Ryan Ability Lab. Additionally, they support educational based groups including Daniel Murphy Foundation to promote access to quality education for all. He splits his time between homes in Chicago, SW Michigan and Jackson, Wyoming.
Paul W. Brown
Managing Director, eLab Ventures
Paul Brown, has been a member of the Wolverine Board since 2011. He received his B.A. and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Michigan and his J.D. degree from Wayne State University. Paul is a managing partner of eLab Ventures, a venture capital firm headquartered in Michigan with offices in Silicon Valley. Prior to this, he was Vice President of Capital Markets at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), under Governors Granholm and Snyder, where he managed the bulk of the State’s $2 billion 21st Century Jobs Fund investment portfolio and developed programs focused on increasing the availability of capital for business in Michigan. He has testified before Congress on issues of economic development and access to capital. Prior to joining MEDC, Mr. Brown practiced law in the Manhattan office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. He began his legal career as a law clerk to Judge John O’Meara in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Mr. Brown is board chair of the Michigan History Foundation, is a past board member of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, the Michigan Venture Capital Association, the Venture Michigan Fund, and several early stage IT and life-science companies. He has also taught courses at the University of Michigan College of Engineering on finance and entrepreneurship. In 2018 Mr. Brown was elected to the University of Michigan Board of Regents.
Andrew G. Laing
Director, Agency Relations
Andrew Laing joined with Wolverine in 2020 and is the Agency Relations Director. Laing has spent his career working at the intersection of investment, technology, and government. He now serves as Director of Agency Relations at Wolverine Mutual and has served on the company’s board since 2015. In this role, Andrew is responsible for integrating agent feedback into Wolverine Mutual. Laing previously co-founded Victory Six Advisors, a niche consultancy, where he led stakeholder engagement. Laing began his career in Washington, D.C. with the House Energy & Commerce Committee, then later as an associate for a lobbying firm. He helped in the development of an early cyber insurance group program for U.S. manufacturers and worked on behalf of Arthur J. Gallagher. Andrew has represented Fortune and FTSE 100 companies, as well as a handful of startups. Andrew received B.A.’s in History and Political Science from the University of Michigan. He resides in St. Joseph, Michigan.
Sally M. Matthews
Sally graduated from Michigan State University in 1979 with a B.A. in accounting. She started her professional career in Public Accounting at Seidman and Seidman (now BDO) in the Kalamazoo/Dowagiac office. Sally worked in the audit department with a concentration on governmental and small business audits. She passed the CPA exam in 1980 and became licensed as a CPA in 1981. After working eight years in public accounting, Sally joined Old Kent Bank (now 5/3 Bank) as Controller of the Niles, Michigan regional office. She was responsible for the accuracy of the bank’s general ledger and the financial statements.
In 1990, Sally began her career at Wolverine Mutual Insurance Company as Assistant Treasurer. She was promoted to Treasurer in 1995, and eventually to Chief Financial Officer. Sally worked for Wolverine Mutual for 27 years until her retirement in 2017. She gained expertise in many areas, including Statutory Accounting, Investments, Reinsurance, and IBNR calculations. Her knowledge of the casualty insurance industry, and the operations of Wolverine Mutual in particular – in addition to her appreciation of the Company as a recently retired executive – make her a valuable addition to the Board of Directors.
Sally is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Michigan Association of Public Accountants. She serves as a Deacon and also serves as Secretary for the First Christian Church in Dowagiac.