Paul Washington

IMA Financial Group announced Wednesday it has hired Paul Washington, former head of Denver's Office of Economic Development, to head its corporate partnerships group as a executive vice president. 

Insurance giant IMA Financial Group added a big name in Denver to its roster with the hiring of Paul Washington to head its corporate partnerships group as an executive vice president.

Washington, who most recently served as market director for commercial real estate company JLL’s Colorado and Utah operations, spent almost six years as the City of Denver’s executive director of its Office of Economic Development from 2011 to 2017.

Mayor Michael Hancock has been quoted in several publications saying Washington was “the most effective economic development chief this city has seen.”

“Paul’s legal, finance and operational experience, together with his insights into recruiting and onboarding new partnerships, will be an invaluable asset,” IMA Financial Group Chairman and CEO Rob Cohen said in a statement Wednesday.

Washington is a former corporate attorney with a specialty in mergers and acquisitions. He serves on several boards, including Denver Health, Colorado Housing Finance Authority (as chairman of the finance committee), Colorado Concern and the Downtown Denver Partnership. He was also the former vice chairman of the University of Northern Colorado Board of Trustees.

“IMA has an amazing culture, an extremely talented team of professionals and a steep growth trajectory,” said Washington in a statement Wednesday. “I am honored and proud to join them as they establish Denver as an insurance hub.”

IMA states it’s the sixth-largest independent, employee-owned brokerage in the U.S. And that it “acquired 10 independent insurance brokerage firms in the past 12 months.” Washington will also assist with real estate as IMA expansion continues.

“Our tremendous growth presents an opportunity to elevate our new partners and to drive greater results for our combined organization,” Cohen said in a statement.

Company officials said IMA has doubled in size through organic growth and its “commitment to seeking out firms for partnerships.”

It employs about 1,000 throughout the United States and Canada. The insurance brokerage firm specializes in risk management, insurance, wholesale brokerage and wealth management.

Washington starts May 3.