Fortune

1 TRICIA GRIFFITH

CEO • PROGRESSIVE

POLICY SHIFT

SHE HAS RISEN FROM THE CLAIMS DEPARTMENT TO THE CORNER OFFICE, WHILE TURNING THIS 81-YEAR-OLD INSURER INTO A MODEL WORKPLACE FOR THE 21ST CENTURY—AND A GROWTH POWERHOUSE.

HOW PROGRESSIVE’S LEADER IS REWRITING THE RULES OF UNDERWRITING.

TRICIA GRIFFITH STEPS INTO the lecture hall, ready to motivate the troops. It’s a drizzly Friday in November at Progressive’s Cleveland headquarters as Griffith takes the stage, cheerfully waving to a crowd of 60 or so brand-new Progressive hires arranged in tiered seating. Griffith’s introductory “Hiiiiiii!” is greeted gleefully as the employees respond in chorus. The enthusiasm is palpable as Griffith regales them with an account of her rise to chief executive. While talking about an early stint as a manager trainee at a building materials company, the 54-year-old cracks a joke about her résumé: “I’m actually forklift-certified if anyone

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