Edmund F. “Ted” Kelly will step down as chairman of Liberty Mutual Group ending his 21-year tenure with the insurance company.

Liberty Mutual spokesman John Cusolito said Wednesday that David Long, who succeeded Kelly as chief executive in 2011, will become board chairman. The change will take effect June 28.

Kelly, 67 of Weston, became the source of controversy last year when state insurance filings revealed he received nearly $50 million a year from 2008 to 2010 as chief executive officer, and Kelly acknowledged that that he made about that much in 2011.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The company then said the earnings, which made Kelly one of the highest paid executives in America, consisted of long-term deferred compensation, modeled after stock awards public companies use, that rewarded him for the success of the company. He earned roughly $400,000 a year as chairman.

Under Kelly’s leadership the Boston company rose from what he describes as near bankruptcy when he became president in 1993 to a Fortune 100 firm with more than $34 billion in annual sales last year. He became chairman of the board of directors in 2000.

Kelly graduated from Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland and went on to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He worked with Aetna Life and Casualty Co. for 18 years before joining Liberty Mutual.

Kelly is also on the board of directors for The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, the EMC Corporation and the American Ireland Fund and is chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. .