Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America Inc. said Thursday that outgoing president and CEO Bob Rusbuldt had been asked to step down immediately after its legislative conference held in April.
In a statement, the IIABA also issued an apology for an “unfortunate interview segment” conducted at the conference between Mr. Rusbuldt and Jesse Watters, a Fox News host.
CNN reported on Wednesday that Mr. Watters made a crude comment and questioned the gender of Vice President Kamala Harris during the interview with Mr. Rusbuldt at the annual event hosted by the Alexandria, Virginia-based organization.
“The Big I strives to be a fair, open and inclusive organization and we do not condone racist, sexist or homophobic statements or behaviour,”; IIABA said in the statement.
In response to the incident, “we relieved Mr. Rusbuldt of his operational duties immediately following the legislative conference,” the IIABA said, adding that it was “disappointed” to see Rusbuldt end his career with the organization in this manner.
“We in no way condone or agree with any of Rusbuldt’s statements, but we must take full responsibility for them,” the organization said.
Rusbuldt was set to retire on August 31, 2023, after more than two decades at the helm of the organization. Charles Symington, interim vice president, was appointed last year to succeed Rusbuldt effective October 1.
The IIABA went on to say that it deeply regretted that the incident occurred at an event intended to celebrate its organization and membership.
“We have been working with our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team internally and externally since the event on ways to foster a more inclusive and respectful culture and ensure that nothing like this ever happens again,” IIABA said.