Aflac's top marketing executive Charney going with the ‘Flo’

Supplemental life and health insurer Aflac, famed for its humorous duck ad campaign, has lost its chief marketing director to Progressive Corp., a company known for its perky, chatty TV and radio spokesperson called “Flo.”

The sudden resignation of Jeff Charney, Aflac’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer, was disclosed Tuesday by the Columbus-based insurance firm.

Charney, who had been with Aflac for nearly two years, is headed to Progressive, a motor vehicle insurer based in Mayfield Village, Ohio, east of Cleveland. He is taking the position of chief marketing officer there.

Actress and comedian Stephanie Courtney plays Flo, an enthusiastic cashier interacting with customers in the popular Progressive Insurance commercials.

“Together, we accomplished incredible things,” Charney said in a statement. “I’m blown away by how far we’ve come and know I’m leaving Aflac in the hands of an accomplished, capable and forward-thinking team of internal marketers teamed with a great slate of agencies.”

Replacing Charney is Michael Zuna, who joined Aflac last year as its vice president of marketing. Before coming to Columbus, Zuna was managing director of the New York advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi. He also is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, having served a decade in the Navy.

Paul Amos, president and chief operating officer of Aflac U.S., praised Charney’s contributions to the company and said Zuna has the marketing “vision and expertise” to lead the division.

Aflac, which employs 3,900 people in Columbus, does business in the U.S. and Japan, insuring more than 50 million people.