Nationwide’s long-time chief veterinary officer retires


After a 16-year stint, including the past 13 years as chief veterinary officer, Dr. Carol McConnell has retired from Nationwide. Dr. Jules Benson assumed her position earlier this month.

Carol McConnell and Jules Benson

Dr. Carol McConnell (left) and Dr. Jules Benson (right)

Nationwide, the largest provider of pet health insurance in the United States, announced that Jules Benson, BVSc, MRCVS, has assumed the role of chief veterinary officer.

Dr. Benson, an experienced animal health strategist with expertise in innovation, start-ups and marketing, replaced former chief veterinary officer, Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, whose retirement was announced at the end of March.

“I’m thankful to have witnessed first-hand the benefits of pet insurance to veterinarians, pet owners, and most importantly pets,” said Dr. McConnell in a company release.

During her tenure at Nationwide, Dr. McConnell was instrumental in promoting business education for veterinary students and veterinary practice teams, and helping to build organizations such as the Veterinary Business Management Association, the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association, VetPartners and, most recently, the Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association.

She says in the release that educating a whole generation of veterinary professionals is the best legacy she could leave behind, and she’s confident that Dr. Benson will carry this legacy out. Nationwide’s Chief Pet Officer Heidi Sirota agrees.

“We’re very fortunate that Dr. Benson joined our team several months ago in anticipation of this transition. His experience in veterinary practice, as well as human and animal healthcare business, makes him exceptionally qualified as an integral member of the pet insurance leadership team,” Sirota says.

“Dr. McConnell is an extremely tough act to follow, but her amazing leadership and generosity of spirit have left a clear, if challenging, path for me to tread,” says Dr. Benson.

Dr. Benson is a graduate of the University of Liverpool School of Veterinary Science and a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. He has also been active in conservation efforts in Africa and worked in clinical practice prior to transitioning to the animal health industry.

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