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J. Barry Griswell is retired CEO and Chairman of the Board of the Principal Financial Group®. Griswell joined The Principal® in 1988 as an officer and agency vice president. He became senior vice president in 1991 and executive vice president in 1996. He was named president in 1998, became CEO in 2000 and chairman of the board in 2002. Prior to his association with the Principal Financial Group, he served as president and CEO of MetLife Marketing Corporation, a distribution-marketing subsidiary of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. He currently serves as president of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines.
A native of Georgia, Mr. Griswell received his bachelor's degree from Berry College in Rome, Georgia and his master's degree from Stetson University in Deland, Florida. In 2007, he was honored with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Grand View College. He has received his Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation and his Chartered Financial Consultant (CHFC) designation, and is a Fellow of LIMRA Leadership Institute (LLIF).
Griswell is a 2003 Horatio Alger Association Distinguished American Award winner and the 2003 recipient of the Oscar C. Schmidt Iowa Business Leadership Award. He has been inducted into the Iowa Business Hall of Fame, is a recipient of the United Way of Central Iowa Alexis de Tocqueville Society Award, a 2004 recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, a 2004 recipient of the Central Iowa Philanthropic Award for Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser, and a 2006 recipient of the Business Committee for the Arts Leadership Award as well as a 2008 recipient of the American for the Arts Corporate Citizenship in the Arts Award. He has also received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Stetson University and a Distinguished Achievement Award from Berry College.
Griswell is currently a board member of Principal Financial Group, Inc. and Herman Miller, Inc. He has also been active in various industry and community organizations, including service as chair of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), board member of The Business Roundtable, including co-chair of the CEO Task Force on Health and Retirement Security. He is also the past president of the Federation of Iowa Insurers, past chair of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, past chair of Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association (LIMRA) and past chair of Life Underwriters Trainers Council (LUTC). He is a former member of the board of trustees of the S.S. Huebner Foundation for Insurance Education, and Central College in Pella, Iowa. He served as chair of the United Way of America National Tocqueville Council from 2003-2007. He is a current trustee of Berry College in Rome, Georgia, United Way of America, Americans for the Arts, and chair of the Business Committee for the Arts.Griswell is a member of United Way International’s India Leadership Committee, a group committed to raising money in the United States to start and support the United Way throughout India.In spring 2008, Griswell founded The Harvest Initiative, an endeavor to bring economic help to the people of Crow Creek County in South Dakota.
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By J. Barry Griswell, Bob Jennings