Stewart Title Company’s Houston Commercial Division Says Goodbye to a Legend and Welcomes a New Leader

HOUSTON (May 3, 2011) – Stewart Title announces after more than 50 years in the title business, Jim Putnam, senior vice president – Commercial Division at Stewart Title – Houston, is retiring. Putnam is succeeded by industry veteran, Randy Elkins.

Putnam got his start in the title business at the Stewart Title office in Dallas in 1960. He moved back to the Houston area several years later and got a job with American Title Company where he worked his way up to President before returning to Stewart Title in 1996 at his current position.

In his long, storied career Putnam’s been involved in some of the biggest commercial transactions Houston has seen – including the Galleria and many of the office buildings downtown – and come to know some of the most active market players in the commercial real estate industry. This experience enables him to recall information and facts on a host of properties and transactions throughout the Houston area.

“Jim’s knowledge and wisdom have made him an incredibly valuable resource for our company and our customers,” said E.D. Lester, CEO of Stewart Title Houston, “but more than what he knows, it’s how Jim approaches the title business that has helped make our commercial division the best in the city.”

Stewart Morris, Jr., president and CEO of Stewart Title, agrees, “Jim has always approached the title business with a desire to continuously learn and hone his skills. He understands that this is a hands-on business, that to get better you’ve got to be involved at every level, and Jim’s done that for as long as I’ve known him.”

Putnam decided it was time to concentrate more on his personal interests and family, including his wife, Leslie, and his sons, spouses and grandchildren. He will continue to be involved in the business throughout the rest of 2011, however, acting as an advisor to the commercial team and the new head of the commercial division – Randy Elkins, a man with extensive experience in the commercial real estate market.

Elkins, with more than 40 years of legal, banking, real estate and entrepreneurial experience, began his career with Texas Commerce Bank in 1971. He earned his law degree while working full time with the bank, then put it to good use in a variety of positions with Texas Commerce, Elkins & Yount, Baker & Hostettler, Hughes Watters Askanase, and Commerce Funding Group, LLP.

Elkins’ background enables him to provide a different viewpoint on commercial transactions and his extensive background in banking and law will help Stewart Title expand the layers of people we serve.

“Of course, I’m not replacing Jim,” said Elkins. “I was brought in to provide a different view of commercial transactions. And I’m excited to have the opportunity to use that alternate view to run a business that is in the center of all parts of the real estate transaction and to be involved in bringing about the culmination of each deal.”

Lester shares in Elkins’ excitement, “Randy’s vision and leadership will help Stewart adjust to the ongoing changes affecting commercial real estate. He will help us strengthen and continue our role as a valuable resource to not only our customers, but to the Houston commercial community.”

About Stewart

Stewart Title Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Stewart Information Services Corp. (NYSE-STC), a customer-driven, technology-enabled, strategically competitive, real estate information, title insurance and transaction management company.  Stewart provides title insurance and related information services required for settlement by the real estate and mortgage industries throughout the United States and international markets.  Stewart also provides post-closing lender services, automated county clerk land records, property ownership mapping, geographic information systems, property information reports, flood certificates, document preparation, background checks and expertise in tax-deferred exchanges.  More information can be found at, subscribe to the Stewart blog at or follow Stewart on Twitter @stewarttitleco.