Best's Review


Executive Changes
AIG Names Chief Financial Officer, Creates Global Chief Actuary Post

Also, Allianz names first chief analytics officer and the former director of the Federal Insurance Office joins Brookfield Asset Management.
  • January 2022
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Shane Fitzsimons

Mark Lyons

American International Group Inc. named Shane Fitzsimons to succeed Mark Lyons as executive vice president and chief financial officer. Lyons has been named to the newly created role of EVP, global chief actuary and head of portfolio management.

Both appointments are effective Jan. 1, and they will both remain members of AIG's executive leadership team and report to Peter Zaffino, president and chief executive officer, AIG, according to a company statement.

Fitzsimons joined AIG in July 2019 as global head of shared services. He has held roles with increasing responsibility, most recently serving as EVP and chief administrative officer, which included head of financial planning & analysis. Fitzsimons also oversaw the implementation of AIG 200 across AIG.

Previously, he spent 23 years at GE, 13 of which as an officer, in operational and financial leadership roles across the United States, Asia, and Europe, including global head of shared services, CFO for all international operations, head of financial planning and analysis across GE and CFO of GE Aviation Services, according to the company.

In his newly created role, Lyons will oversee AIG's global actuarial and ceded reinsurance functions, and lead ongoing improvements and repositioning in AIG's commercial and personal insurance portfolio, the company said.

Lyons joined AIG in July 2018 as chief actuary, general insurance, with more than 40 years of experience in the insurance industry. He assumed the role of CFO, AIG in December 2018. Before joining AIG, he was EVP, CFO and treasurer of Arch Capital Group Ltd. He was previously chairman and CEO of Arch Worldwide Insurance Group after serving in various capacities within Arch Insurance U.S. operations. Prior to Arch, Lyons held positions of increasing responsibility at Zurich U.S., Berkshire Hathaway and previously at AIG, according to a company statement.

AIG also appointed Elias Habayeb as CFO, life and retirement; Elaine Rocha as global chief investment officer, AIG; and Ted Devine as global head of AIG 200.

—Staff Report

Craig DeSanto

New York Life Appoints Successor to Retiring CEO

New York Life's board of directors named Craig DeSanto to succeed Ted Mathas as chief executive officer.

Mathas, who has held the title of CEO for almost 14 years, plans to retire April 15 but will remain chairman of the board in a non-executive capacity for a transition period, according to the company.

DeSanto has served as New York Life's president since July 2020 and as a member of the company's board of directors since February 2021. He will retain the title of president upon assuming the CEO role, according to a company statement.

DeSanto joined New York Life in 1997 as an actuarial summer intern and was promoted into roles of increasing responsibility across the company's finance and business operations, which included leading the institutional and individual life insurance businesses. In 2015, DeSanto was appointed leader of the company's strategic businesses, where he strengthened and further diversified a portfolio of businesses that complement and support the company's core individual life insurance business. Today, these businesses generate the majority of New York Life's earnings, nearly 50% of dividends paid, and approximately half of the company's life insurance sales, according to the company.

In 2018, DeSanto assumed oversight for New York Life's retail annuity business line. In 2019, he added oversight of New York Life Investment Management, the company's $450 billion multi-boutique third-party asset management business serving institutions and individuals around the world. In 2020, DeSanto led the effort to successfully close the acquisition of Cigna's group life and disability business, now known as New York Life Group Benefit Solutions. The acquisition is the largest in New York Life's history, the company said.

John Doyle

Dean Klisura

Marsh McLennan Names Group President, Selects New Guy Carpenter CEO

Marsh McLennan promoted John Doyle to group president and chief operating officer of Marsh McLennan and Dean Klisura to succeed Peter Hearn as president and chief executive officer of Guy Carpenter.

The changes are effective Jan. 1.

Doyle formerly was president and CEO of Marsh, a position he held since 2017. In his new role, he will work closely with President and CEO Dan Glaser to realize the enterprise's overall strategic business and operational objectives. The CEOs of Marsh, Guy Carpenter, Mercer and Oliver Wyman will report to Doyle, who, in turn, will report to Glaser, according to a company statement.

He will continue as vice chair of the company.

Klisura, president of Guy Carpenter, also was appointed vice chair of Marsh McLennan and succeeds Hearn on Marsh McLennan's executive committee. Klisura had been with Marsh for almost 30 years, serving in executive leadership roles in Marsh's Global Placement and Advisory Services and Global Specialties businesses before joining Guy Carpenter in 2020, according to the company.

Hearn will continue in his role as vice chair of Marsh McLennan, focusing on sales and colleague development initiatives. He will continue to report to Glaser, the company said.

Martin South, formerly president of Marsh U.S. and Canada, succeeds Doyle as president and CEO of Marsh. He also was appointed vice chair of Marsh McLennan and will join Marsh McLennan's executive committee. South has more than 30 years of global insurance experience, including serving as CEO for Marsh's Asia-Pacific region, Marsh U.K. &Ireland and Marsh Europe, the company said.

Dominic Burke, vice chair of Marsh McLennan, plans to retire in mid-January. Burke, former CEO of Jardine Lloyd Thompson, joined Marsh McLennan following its acquisition of JLT in 2019, according to a company statement.

Pat Donnelly, formerly head of Marsh Specialty for Marsh U.S. and Canada, succeeds South as president of Marsh U.S. and Canada.

Donnelly will oversee Marsh's insurance brokerage and risk advisory businesses across the United States and Canada. He will report to South and join the executive committee, according to a company statement.

Donnelly has over 20 years of experience and has served in his current role since 2019, when JLT was acquired by Marsh McLennan. Previously, he was CEO of JLT Specialty U.S. and held executive leadership positions at Aon Risk Solutions, according to the company.

JoAnn Martin

JoAnn Martin, Former Ameritas CEO, Dies at Age 67

JoAnn Martin, former Ameritas chief executive officer and longtime industry and community leader, has died at the age of 67.

In July, Martin was diagnosed with a rare degenerative neurological disease that progressed rapidly, according to her obituary.

Martin was born Sept. 20, 1954, in Plainview, Nebraska. A lifelong Nebraskan, she grew up on a farm and attended a one-room school through sixth grade and then public high school, graduating in 1972. Martin attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in accounting. She graduated with high distinction in 1975 while passing all components of the Certified Public Accountant examination by the age of 20. She earned her Master of Science degree in business administration from Colorado State University in 1982, according to her obituary.

Martin began her professional career at the Touche Ross & Co. accounting firm in 1976. She joined Ameritas, then called Bankers Life Nebraska, in 1984 as an audit division manager. She rose through the company, serving the next 35 years in various key leadership roles.

She was elected Ameritas CEO in 2009, a role she served in until her retirement in 2020, according to BestWire. As CEO, Martin set the pace and was essential to the growth of Ameritas through a significant transition period. Under Martin's leadership, Ameritas assets grew 61%, and the total number of customers grew 75%. By almost all measures, the company is at least 50% larger than it was when she became CEO, according to a previous Ameritas statement.

Martin also served as a board member for publicly traded companies NRC Health and Nelnet. She also was just the second woman to serve as chair of the American Council of Life Insurers in its 113-year history. She participated in numerous other business and community roles and also volunteered for many school and community causes.

Martin is survived by her husband, two daughters and three granddaughters.

Hugo Wegbrans

Willis Towers Watson Names Global Head of Broking and Broking Strategy

Willis Towers Watson appointed Hugo Wegbrans as global head of broking and strategy in its risk and broking segment.

He will join the company early this year from Aon, where he most recently was leader of global strategies for its commercial risk solutions business. Before that, he was global chief broking officer. He spent the majority of his 35-year career with Aon, WTW said.

WTW also named Clare Muhiudeen as head of Asia, succeeding Scott Burnett, who was promoted to chief commercial officer in the risk and broking operations worldwide. Muhiudeen will be responsible for driving business growth and directing Willis Towers Watson's client and colleague experience across its business segments in Asia. She will be based in Hong Kong, according to a company statement.

Muhiudeen has 30 years of experience in human capital consulting, serving clients and leading large, multi-disciplinary teams across various international markets including Asia-Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and Latin America. Most recently, she led the company's human capital &benefits segment across WTW International and worked with multinational companies in a range of sectors, including engineering, airlines, luxury brands, telecommunications, professional services and many more, according to the company.

In addition, Ben Crookenden was appointed head of facultative for WTW's risk and broking business in Asia. Crookenden brings 17 years of industry experience, including 12 years in Southeast Asia. Previously, he served at UIB Singapore, JLT and JLT Risk Solutions Asia, according to WTW.

Liz Breeze

Hiscox Appoints Interim Group Chief Financial Officer

Hiscox Ltd. named Liz Breeze as interim group chief financial officer, subject to regulatory approval, while the search for a permanent group CFO is conducted.

Effective Jan. 1, Breeze fills the vacancy left by former Group CFO Aki Hussain, who takes over as chief executive officer this month, according to BestWire. She will be based in London and join the group executive committee, the company said.

Breeze joined Hiscox in 2012 and has held a number of senior finance roles across the group, including group technical accountant, head of finance for Hiscox U.K., and, most recently, chief financial officer for Hiscox Re & ILS. As part of the Hiscox Re & ILS leadership team, Breeze has driven significant improvements in both financial systems and capital efficiency, according to the company. She is a chartered accountant, having trained with KPMG, and previously worked as part of their insurance practice in London and Bermuda.

Grace Hanson

Insurtech Hippo Selects First Chief Claims Officer

Insurtech Hippo named Grace Hanson as its first chief claims officer, effective this month.

Hanson will oversee the growth of Hippo's claims organization as the company expands to reach more than 90% of U.S. homeowners this year, according to a company statement.

Hanson also will extend the company's use of technology and data to increase claims efficiency and ensure that customers are able to complete claims with limited effort and an empathetic shoulder to lean on throughout the process, according to the company.

Hanson joins Hippo from Hiscox, where she was the chief claims officer. Hanson built deep experience with insurtech companies as senior vice president chief claims officer of Homesite Insurance, the first insurer to offer a fully digital homeowners product. In her role, Hanson built a claims organization that not only handled 400% growth in eight years but also was at the forefront of using emerging technology, the company said.

Chris Varley

Allianz Insurance Names First Chief Analytics Officer

Allianz Insurance has named Chris Varley to the newly created position of chief analytics officer, effective in March.

Varley will be responsible for growing capabilities in data and pricing, to deliver a single analytics strategy across Allianz Insurance, the company said.

Varley joins Allianz from Willis Towers Watson, where he was senior director, responsible for the commercial lines pricing, product, claims and underwriting consulting proposition. In this role, Varley developed and delivered cutting-edge analytics in the commercial insurance market and had worked with Allianz at a group and U.K. level, according to a company statement.

Before WTW, Varley was with Zurich Insurance for 13 years in various roles, most recently as head of underwriting transformation, responsible for defining and leading the underwriting transformation program, which focused on data-led decision making, according to the company.

Michael McRaith

Brookfield Appoints Vice Chair of Insurance Solutions Business

Brookfield Asset Management appointed Michael McRaith as vice chair of its insurance solutions business.

In this newly created role, McRaith will participate in all aspects of Brookfield's global insurance operation.

He most recently was a managing director at Blackstone. He served for nearly six years as the first director of the Federal Insurance Office in the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Before joining Treasury, he served for more than six years as the director of the Illinois Department of Insurance, including as an officer of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. He was a private practice lawyer in Chicago before his government service, according to a company statement.

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