A Retirement Giant Empowers a New Chief
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Monday, April 20, 2015

A Retirement Giant Empowers a New Chief

One of the biggest retirement plan providers in the U.S. is about to have a new chief. Your DC I-O teams and colleagues will want to pay attention.

This morning Rod Martin, chairman and CEO of all of Voya Financial [profile], confirmed the appointment of Charlie Nelson as CEO of Voya Retirement, effective May 1. Nelson will report to chief operating officer Alain Karaoglan, and Karaoglan will also serve as CEO of retirement and investment solutions. Voya Investment Chief Jeff Becker still reports to Karaoglan, as well.

Voya Retirement includes 401(k)s (under the "Corporate Markets" segment), 403(b)s and 457s (401(k)-like plans for non-profits and government employers, under the "Tax-Exempt Markets" segment), and IRAs (under the "Retail Wealth Management Segment"). Its clients cover the retirement spectrum, from individuals saving for retirement on their own, to small businesses, to school districts and local governments, to Fortune 500 companies.

The move comes six months after the previous Voya Retirement chief, Maliz Beams, left the company. At the time, Martin himself filled Beams' shoes leading the retirement unit while also continuing to serve as chairman and CEO of the whole publicly-traded company. The release this morning notes that last year, Voya Retirement "accounted for approximately 40% of the company's operating earnings," and Martin reiterated that Voya's vision is "to be America's Retirement Company."

Nelson, 54, is a career retirement plan recordkeeping executive, not a fundster, yet fundsters may recognize him from his previous role. He most recently led core and government markets, as well as FASCore institutional markets (recordkeeping software supporting other retirement plan providers), for the giant retirement plan provider Empower created by Putnam and Great-West Financial chief Bob Reynolds last year. That business, led by key Reynolds lieutenant Ed Murphy, includes retirement businesses from Great-West and Putnam (sister companies), as well as J.P. Morgan. Nelson led the retirement plan business on the Great-West side prior to the three-way merger.

Martin praises Nelson for having a "track record of developing and executing profitable growth strategies for retirement businesses" and a "well-respected standing" in the business.

At Voya, Nelson's direct reports will include: Carolyn Johnson, president of tax-exempt markets; Richard Linton, president of large corporate markets and retail wealth management; and Richard Mason, president of small/mid corporate and institutional investment markets.

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