CARMEL - Carmel-based Protective Insurance Corp. (Nasdaq: PTVCA and PTVCB) President and Chief Executive Officer Randy Birchfield has resigned. The company says it is now open to evaluating "potential strategic partnerships or transactions."

In a news release, Protective Insurance said Birchfield's departure is not related to management issues or company performance. The company provided no other details about the resignation or strategy shift. Jay Nichols, who most recently served as CEO of Bermuda-based AXIS Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS), has been named interim CEO and chairman of the board.

Lead Director Stuart Bilton says "Jay has a proven track record in the insurance industry and a broad range of skills that are a perfect match for our current needs. We are pleased that Jay has accepted the Interim CEO role and are highly confident that he and our existing management team will provide consistent leadership to Protective Insurance moving forward."

Protective Insurance changed its name earlier this year from Baldwin & Lyons after carrying the moniker for more than 50 years.