State Farm CEO, who's led company since 1985, stepping down

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — State Farm Insurance Cos. announced Thursday that Chief Operating Officer Michael Tipsord will become its next chief executive, succeeding Ed Rust Jr., who has led the private company since the mid-1980s.

The Bloomington-based insurance and financial company said in a news release that Tipsord will take over in September from Rust, who has held the post since 1985. Rust, 64, will remain chairman of the company's board.

"Michael has a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges emerging in our rapidly changing marketplace," Rust told State Farm employees Thursday. "During his 27-year career with our company, he has been a key leader in driving our continued growth and success."

Tipsord joined the company in 1988. He became a vice president in 2002 and chief financial officer in 2004 before taking his current job in 2011.

Rust credited Tipsord for working with him as a partner leading the company. Tipsord, the release said, called the time he's spent working with Rust "a privilege."

"This great organization is blessed with a strong leadership team and State Farm associates who are committed to helping our customers live confidently every day," Tipsord said.

State Farm has about 65,000 employees and is ranked No. 41 on the 2014 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. It is also Bloomington's biggest employer with about 15,000 workers in the city.

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