IMA announces retirement of President and COO Kurt Watson

03/17/2017  -  IMA, Inc.

The IMA Financial Group, Inc. announced Friday the retirement of President, Chief Operating Officer and Director Kurt Watson effective June 1, 2017. In his 20 plus years of leadership, Watson has helped the company grow from $25 million to nearly $150 million in revenue. 

“Selected for his nationally-renowned business acumen, Kurt helped propel IMA from a three-location office into one of the largest companies of its kind,” said Chairman and CEO Robert Cohen. “His business pedigree has generated immeasurable value for our clients and associates.”

Watson began his career with IMA in 1996 following a 22-year banking career, most of which was with Fourth Financial Corporation in Wichita, now Bank of America.   Through their partnership, Cohen and Watson developed an organizational structure that allowed IMA to attract and retain the best talent in the industry, achieve unprecedented revenue growth and profitability, and ultimately grow shareholder value. 

“Kurt has been a mentor to all of us,” said IMA, Inc. Wichita President Kyle Orndorff. “Over the years, we’ve had countless conversations about the best ways to serve our clients, the strategies that will keep our company great and about a mutual love of the University of Kansas. IMA has grown from a hometown company to a national leader in our industry.”

A community leader

Watson has had a significant impact in the Wichita community and in the state of Kansas through his service on numerous boards and organizations. He currently serves on the board of directors of Emprise Bank and the board of directors of Assurex Global, an international association of insurance brokers.  He has been deeply involved with the University of Kansas throughout his career and is the recipient of the Fred Ellsworth Medallion, which is the highest award given to an Alumnus of the University.  Watson is the Chair Emeritus and Trustee of the Kansas University Endowment Association where he recently led Far Above, a $1.66 billion capital campaign for the University of Kansas.

"Kurt Watson is an extraordinary public citizen. He and Sue have made contributions to every segment of the community,” said University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. “I know firsthand his exceptional service to the University of Kansas over many years. The time, devotion, and skill he has shown are remarkable, all the while conveying that friendly good will which is so characteristic of him."

“All of us at IMA owe an immense amount of gratitude for Kurt’s contributions,” Cohen continued. “For over 20 years he has been a steadfast business partner, and his time at IMA has helped us rewrite how an insurance broker should create value for its clients.”