John F. Barrett is one of Ohio’s most determined supporters of economic development, education, healthcare and the fine arts. He is chairman, president and chief executive officer of Western & Southern Financial Group, a Cincinnati-based diversified family of financial services companies with assets owned and managed in excess of $55 billion.
A Fortune 500 company, Western & Southern is one of the eight highest-rated life insurance groups in the world based on Standard & Poor’s ratings. Under his leadership, Western & Southern has grown from a $5 billion Midwestern life insurance company into a highly respected national financial services enterprise.
Barrett is a recognized leader in the business community and financial services industry. He serves on the boards of directors of Cintas Corporation and Convergys Corporation.
He is as a director of the American Council of Life Insurers (former chairman) and The Financial Services Roundtable, and he is a member of The Business Roundtable. All are in Washington, DC.
He is president of the Association of Ohio Life Insurance Companies and a past chairman of the Ohio Business Roundtable. He is a member and serves on the executive committee of the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) and is on the board of governors for Cincinnati USA Partnership for Economic Development.
Barrett is active on the boards of trustees of Americans for the Arts, the Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts, and the Cincinnati Business Committee (former chairman). He is co-chairman of The Greater Cincinnati Scholarship Association, currently serves on the Dan Beard Council Trust Fund Committee, and is a member and past chairman of The Cincinnati Equity Fund.
As an active alumnus of the University of Cincinnati, Barrett serves in a variety of capacities for the university and its foundation. He is chairman of the Medical Center Fund, advisory board member of the Barrett Cancer Center, vice chairman of the foundation’s Capital Campaign, and honorary chairman of the university’s Presidential Bicentennial Commission.
Through his involvement with CincinnatiMD Resource Center and the Health Improvement Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati (Greater Cincinnati Health Council), Barrett was instrumental in the 2004 launch of Cincinnati MDJobs.com, a first in the nation that has since recruited hundreds of doctors to the Greater Cincinnati area.
In 2005, he led the first statewide tax reform in Ohio in over 75 years as then-chairman of the Ohio Business Roundtable. As a result, Ohio’s business tax competitiveness ranks third nationally, and Cincinnati is the lowest-cost major city in which to do business in the United States. Prior to that, on behalf of the Cincinnati Business Committee, he arranged the private financing for the expansion of Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Convention Center.
In June 2012, the Cincinnati chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization established the John F. Barrett Vision Award to honor his outstanding entrepreneurial vision and spirit in Cincinnati.
Former board memberships include The Andersons, Inc., Cincinnati Bell Inc., Fifth Third Bancorp, Touchstone Investment Trust, The Taft Museum of Art, The Cincinnati Art Museum (past chairman), Downtown Cincinnati Inc. (past chairman), The Cincinnati Opera and ArtsWave. Barrett also served as a trustee of United Way and the 2001 general campaign chairman and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He was chairman of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce (now Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber) and the 1997 general chairman for the Catholic Inner City Schools (CISE) Fund Raising Campaign and the Fine Arts Fund Campaign.
Barrett holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Cincinnati. He and his wife, Eileen Ward Barrett, have three children.