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Kirk Herath


Kirk Herath is a Principal with Pillars Consulting Group. He recently retired as Vice-President, Associate General Counsel, and Chief Privacy Officer for Nationwide Insurance Companies and affiliates based in Columbus, Ohio.

For over two decades, Herath was responsible for all legal issues at a Fortune 100 financial services company impacting data, privacy, information security, technology and information systems, contracts and supply services management, third-party risk, confidentiality, and data integrity. He was responsible for corporate privacy policy, data and security incident management, and implementing privacy across all lines of business. Kirk has represented clients on many industry privacy and Cybersecurity policy groups and before legislative and regulatory bodies.

Under Herath’s leadership, Nationwide was selected as one of the Top 10 Most Trusted Companies for Privacy (number one in the insurance sector) six times by the prestigious Ponemon Institute.

Currently, Herath is Chairman of CyberOhio, Ohio’s Cybersecurity Advisory Board, and a member of the InnovateOhio Advisory Board under the direction of Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Governor Mike DeWine. He is Past President and past board member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals and is still active within the association. He also served on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee from 2005 to 2011. He speaks regularly on a broad array of privacy, security, and technology issues.

Herath edited the privacy practitioners’ bible, “How to Build a Privacy Program”, published by the IAPP Press.

In addition, Herath has over 30 years of experience in public policy, legislative and regulatory affairs, and land use and development. Herath was a federal and state legislative representative and public policy director for Nationwide for over 12 years, and he has almost 30 years of experience in local policy making as a City Councilman, Planning and Zoning Commissioner, and currently, as President of a very active community investment corporation.

He received undergraduate degrees in political science and history from the University of Cincinnati and has a master’s degree in international affairs from the American University in Washington, D.C. He holds a law degree from Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, and is admitted to the Ohio Bar. Herath is also a Certified Information Privacy Professional and a Certified Information Privacy Professional/Government.