ING U.S. Announces Retirement of Life Insurance Industry Veteran Butch Britton; Succession Plans in Place
- Michael Smith, current Chief Risk Officer, ING U.S. named new CEO Insurance Solutions
- Chet Ragavan, current Chief Risk Officer, ING U.S. Investment Management, named new ING U.S. Chief Risk Officer
- Changes take effect immediately; Butch Britton to assume role as senior adviser
ING U.S., Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), which will rebrand as Voya Financial, Inc. in 2014 today announced that Donald “Butch” Britton, 65, will retire effective immediately as CEO of ING U.S.’s Insurance Solutions business. Britton will assume the role of senior adviser to the Chairman and CEO of ING U.S., and to the CEO of Insurance Solutions, until June 30, 2014.
Insurance Solutions includes ING U.S.’s Individual Life and Employee Benefits business segments. Britton, who joined ING U.S. in 2004, has enjoyed a 40-year career in the Life Insurance and Annuity industries. Prior to joining ING U.S., he was president, Life Insurance, American General Financial Group.
“First and foremost, on behalf of everyone at ING U.S., I would like to thank Butch for his significant contributions to ING U.S. over the past 10 years,” said Rodney O. Martin, Jr., Chairman and CEO, ING U.S. “Butch is well known and highly regarded throughout the Life Insurance industry and our employees, customers, and distribution partners have benefited considerably from his expertise, experience, and innovative thinking. Butch is passionate about the importance of Americans having sufficient life insurance coverage to protect their loved ones and their retirement savings. That passion is embedded in our culture today thanks to his leadership.”
Executive Bench Strength
Leads to Internal Promotions of Smith and Ragavan Britton’s planned retirement has precipitated additional changes to the ING U.S. senior management team. He will be succeeded as CEO of Insurance Solutions, by Michael Smith, 50, currently ING U.S. Chief Risk Officer. Smith will continue to report to Martin and will also retain his current responsibilities for the Closed Block Variable Annuity (CBVA) segment. Smith, who has been with ING U.S. since 2009, will be succeeded as ING U.S. Chief Risk Officer by Chet Ragavan, 59, currently Chief Risk Officer of ING U.S. Investment Management. Ragavan, who has been with ING U.S. since 2008, will now report to Martin and become a member of the ING U.S. Executive Committee.
Martin added: “We are fortunate to have the necessary executive bench strength to promote into these important roles from within the organization and thus preserve the continuity with our employees, customers, clients, and distribution partners. I have tremendous confidence in Mike and Chet and expect them to step into their new responsibilities and continue executing our strategy, achieving our growth objectives, and managing our risks effectively. We have a deliberate process for developing our internal talent and these promotions validate the strength of that process.”
Smith Has Extensive Life Insurance and Annuity Background
Smith has an extensive 28-year background in the Life Insurance and Annuity industries. Immediately prior to becoming Chief Risk Officer, Smith served as CEO of the ING U.S. Annuity Manufacturing business that included the CBVA segment. In 2009, he joined ING U.S. as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Insurance Risk Officer of the Annuity business. Prior to joining ING U.S., Smith was with Lincoln Financial Group where he held numerous leadership positions.
Smith holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and Russian studies from the University of Michigan. He attained Fellowship in the Society of Actuaries in 1990, and he is also a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries. Smith is a CFA® charterholder.
Ragavan Has More Than 30 Years of Risk Management and Research Experience
Ragavan has more than 30 years of risk management and analytical research experience, most recently as Chief Risk Officer for ING U.S. Investment Management. As Chief Risk Officer, Ragavan was responsible for an integrated platform that covered investment, operational and business risk management. Prior to joining ING U.S., Ragavan served as Managing Director, co-head of the Portfolio Analytics Group for BlackRock Solutions.
Ragavan has a B.B.A. in management science from Madurai University, and an M.B.A. in finance from the University of Madras, both in India. He also holds an M.S. in computer science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Ragavan is a CFA® charterholder.
Smith’s and Ragavan’s promotions take effect immediately.
About ING U.S.
ING U.S. (NYSE: VOYA), which plans to rebrand in the future as Voya Financial, is a premier retirement, investment and insurance company serving the financial needs of approximately 13 million individual and institutional customers in the United States. The company’s vision is to be America’s Retirement Company and its guiding principle is centered on solving the most daunting financial challenge facing Americans today — retirement readiness. Working directly with clients and through a broad group of financial intermediaries, independent producers, affiliated advisors and dedicated sales specialists, ING U.S. provides a comprehensive portfolio of asset accumulation, asset protection and asset distribution products and services. With a dedicated workforce of approximately 7,000 employees, ING U.S. is grounded in a clear mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family and one institution at a time. For more information, visit http://ing.us.
Dana E. Ripley