A former chief financial officer will be taking over as the day-to-day leader of a giant insurer.

The board of Allstate Corp., Northbrook, Ill., has chosen Thomas Wilson, 48, the company’s president, to succeed Edward Liddy, the chairman and chief executive officer, as CEO at the end of the year.

Liddy, 62, who has been Allstate’s chairman and CEO since January 1999, will keep the chairman title until he retires in the spring of 2008, Allstate says.

Allstate has not said whether Wilson or someone else will get the title of chairman.

Liddy, who served as president of Allstate before taking over as chairman, says this is an ideal time for a leadership transition.

“Today Allstate is in a very strong position,” Liddy says in a statement about his pending retirement.

Liddy’s successor, Wilson, has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in management from Northwestern University.

From 1986 to 1993, Wilson was managing director of mergers and acquisitions at Dean Witter Reynolds, which was then a unit of Sears, Roebuck and Company, Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Wilson later worked as the vice president in charge of strategy and analysis at Sears.

Wilson began working for Allstate as its CFO in 1995. He went on to become president of the company’s financial services unit and later of its property-casualty insurance unit.

Wilson is a board member of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, Des Plaines, Ill. He has been active in efforts to lobby for the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and, generally, to promote improvements in the way the United States prepares for catastrophes.