Valent Group, a subsidiary of EBSCO Industries, is proud to announce that Kurt Close has been promoted to president and will lead the organization’s efforts to provide business insurance, employer benefits and personal insurance services to companies and individuals in the Southeast.

Close takes the helm after serving as Valent Group’s chief operating officer and overseeing the agency’s Property and Casualty division and agency operations teams. Under his leadership, the division was restructured for optimal performance and sustained success, ultimately delivering record growth of 21% in the most recent fiscal year.

Prior to Valent Group, Close spent nearly 30 years at Travelers in various insurance leadership roles.

“I’m incredibly honored to serve Valent Group and its employees, clients and carriers as we move forward together,” said Close. “Our vision is to maintain an industry leading culture for our employees while achieving above average growth across all of our offices. I look forward to continuing the momentum we’ve gained over the past few years and supporting the agency in every possible way.”

Kurt succeeds Paul Barber, who was named group president in 2017. During that time Barber successfully positioned the agency for long-term growth and success.

“Kurt is a transformational leader who brings both deep technical experience and keen business acumen to all aspects of the agency’s operations,” said Barber. “This blend of giftings is exactly what Valent needs to continue our current momentum and grow aggressively in the future.”

Barber will himself be moving into a new role at Valent Group, serving as market development advisor, where he will continue to represent the agency in the business community and connect our team to organizational leaders who are looking to experience a Fortune 1000 risk consulting experience.

Close is a graduate of Samford University where he played four years of college basketball and earned a degree in mathematics and business. Originally from Sylacauga, he spent 10 years in Atlanta before coming home to Birmingham, where he has been for the past 12 years.

About Valent Group

Valent Group provides risk consulting and insurance for businesses, employer benefit groups and individuals across Alabama and nationwide. Valent Group is an independently owned firm headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, with offices in Huntsville, Mobile and Decatur. They are a subsidiary of EBSCO Industries, a privately held global company. For more information, visit

About EBSCO Industries, Inc.

Founded in 1944 by the late Elton B. Stephens, EBSCO Industries, Inc. has evolved into a global company with businesses in a range of industries including Information Services, Publishing and Digital Media, Outdoor Products, Real Estate, Manufacturing and Distribution and Business Services. Headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, EBSCO operates divisions and subsidiaries in 23 countries, employing almost 5,000 people. For a complete listing of EBSCO’s business groups, please visit