Marc Racicot will step down from his post as president of the American Insurance Association in February 2009, the AIA says.

Leigh Ann Pusey, now the chief operating officer and senior vice president for government affairs at the AIA, Washington, will succeed Racicot, according to the AIA.

The change was announced by AIA Chairman Evan Greenberg, who also is the chairman of Ace Ltd., Hamilton, Bermuda.

Racicot was not available to discuss his plans.

Racicot has been president of the AIA since August 2005. He served 2 terms as governor of Montana in the 1990s. He also has served as chairman of the Republican National Committee and as chairman of the Bush-Cheney 2004 re-election campaign.

Several sources said Racicot is stepping down to help the AIA save money, and to save the jobs of other AIA staffers.

Racicot “has made a number of important management and reorganization proposals to the AIA board, which the board has endorsed,” Greenberg says in a statement about Racicot’s upcoming departure.

One proposal “calls for a realignment of AIA management and a change of leadership,” Greenberg says.

Racicot’s successor, Pusey, began working for the AIA in 1996.

Before Pusey joined the AIA, she worked as the communications coordinator for U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.; as the deputy director of communications for the Republican National Committee; and as deputy assistant to President George H.W. Bush for the White House Office of Public Liaison. She also has been the coalitions and organization director at the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Frank Keating, president of the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, says the ACLI has worked closely with Racicot and the AIA on many insurance issues, and especially on efforts to give insurers the option of choosing to be regulated by a federal agency.

“Marc has been a good friend and a forceful and highly-respected advocate for AIA members and their customers,” Keating says in a statement. “We wish him the best of success in his next endeavor.”