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J. Michael Nolan has announced his retirement as president of the Oakland-based California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) effective May 1, 2013. The Institute’s Board of Directors has named Alex Swedlow, CWCI’s Executive Vice President for Research, as his successor.

“We knew this day would eventually arrive, and extend our sincere appreciation to Michael for all his contributions to CWCI, its members, and the California workers’ compensation system” said Tom Rowe, President and CEO of State Compensation Insurance Fund and chairman of the CWCI Board. “Under Michael’s steady and insightful leadership, CWCI has remained an indispensable resource for our members and the industry by generating reliable data that helps them make informed business decisions, track industry trends, and analyze key issues in the industry. Michael is leaving us in a very good place, and we thank him for his many years of service.”

Mr. Nolan joined the Institute in June 2001 as successor to former president, Ed Woodward. His career in the insurance industry spans more than 40 years, including 10 years at Argonaut Insurance, where he served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary. During his time with the Institute, Mr. Nolan served on a number of government and private advisory committees, including working groups of the California Division of Workers’ Compensation, the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation, the Department of Insurance, the California Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau and RAND Corporation. Additionally, Mr. Nolan periodically testified on workers’ compensation issues at public hearings of the California State Legislature and administrative agencies, including last year’s workers’ compensation reform hearing that culminated in the enactment of the 2012 reform bill (SB 863).

“My years with CWCI have been some of the most rewarding of my career,” said Mr. Nolan. “I am thankful for the great opportunities I had with CWCI and look forward to its continued success under Alex Swedlow, who brings impressive credentials and deep industry expertise.” Following his retirement from CWCI and a short sabbatical, Mr. Nolan intends to re-enter the workers’ compensation industry or corporate-regulatory law field.

Effective April 2 Mr. Swedlow will become the fourth President at CWCI in almost 50 years. Mr. Swedlow formally joined CWCI in November 2000 as Executive Vice President of Research, where he focused on data development and research on cost drivers, evidence-based medicine, opioid utilization, litigation and alternative dispute resolution, access to care, return-to-work and key performance indicators of the 2002-2004 and 2012 California workers’ compensation reforms.

Prior to that, Mr. Swedlow was an independent consultant to CWCI from 1988 to 1999, working to enhance data collection and research on topics including medical and indemnity benefit development, 24-hour coverage and medical treatment utilization, and cost drivers. In 1998, he served as the Systems Architect and Project Manager for the Industry Claims Information System (ICIS) Project, which has since grown into one of the largest and most vital transactional data warehouses in the California workers’ compensation system. Mr. Swedlow is an active participant in industry advisory committee work and frequently speaks at regional and national conferences and forums.

“I’m thrilled to take on this new responsibility and lead CWCI in its next chapter,” said Mr. Swedlow. “As CWCI looks to its next 50 years, we have an opportunity to further establish our role as a critical but objective industry resource.”