As Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western & Southern Financial Group (Western & Southern), John Barrett serves on a wide range of boards and is highly active in the business and non-profit communities.
He joined Western & Southern in 1987 as its chief financial officer. He was named president in 1989, chief executive officer in 1994 and chairman in 2002. Under his guidance, Western & Southern has become a recognized leader in consumer and business financial services, providing life and health insurance, annuities, mutual funds, investment management, financial planning and retirement solutions through its member companies.
During his career at Western & Southern, Barrett has provided leadership to the Ohio Business Roundtable, both as chairman from 2003-2006 and later as co-chairman from 2009-2010. Under his leadership, the OBRT was instrumental in helping modernize and improve Ohio’s then-anticompetitive tax climate by driving reforms that broadened the base, lowered the rates and significantly enhanced capital investment, exports and job growth. Currently, he serves the OBRT as a member of its Executive Committee.
Barrett serves on the board of directors for Cintas Corporation with past board memberships that include The Andersons, Inc., Cincinnati Bell Inc., Convergys Corporation, Fifth Third Bancorp and Touchstone Investment Trusts. He is a director and past chairman of the American Council of Life Insurers, a member of The Business Roundtable, and a trustee for Americans for the Arts. Barrett also serves as a member of the Board of Overseers for the Hoover Institute at Stanford University. He is past president of the Association of Ohio Life Insurance Companies.
A very active leader in the rejuvenation of downtown Cincinnati, Barrett was among the first to make significant investment in Cincinnati’s historic Over-The-Rhine. His company redefined the Cincinnati skyline with construction of the city’s tallest skyscraper. He launched the United Way Women's Leadership Council to increase giving among top female contributors. He founded the Herbert R. Brown Society in Cincinnati to encourage greater African American engagement with the local United Way. And his company stepped forward in 2001 as title sponsor of what is now the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament, ensuring the surrounding community access to growing economic benefits, reaching $68 million in 2018.
Dozens of Cincinnati area organizations and community causes benefit from Barrett's civic leadership. Currently, he is spearheading a $105 million fundraising campaign to help Cincinnati pursue National Cancer Institute designation for cancer research excellence.