The Hartford announces top executive changes

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News,Business

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Hartford Financial Services Group announced Monday a change in leadership as its chief executive steps down and is to be replaced by its chief financial officer.

CEO Liam E. McGee, 59, also is relinquishing his job as president of the Hartford, Connecticut, property and casualty insurer and financial services company. He will stay on as executive chairman until the annual meeting in May 2015.

CFO Christopher J. Swift, 53, was appointed CEO. He joined The Hartford in March 2010 after holding leadership and finance jobs at American International Group. Douglas G. Elliot, 53, president of commercial markets, will succeed McGee as president, who led the company for five years.

Beth Bombara, 46, who headed efforts to reduce The Hartford's annuities operations, succeeds Swift as CFO.

The appointments take effect July 1.

The Hartford received $3.4 billion as part of the federal financial bailout in the immediate aftermath of the financial meltdown in 2008. Insurers were hit hard, raising fears that growing investment losses could further cripple the industry. The Hartford repaid the money in March 2010, nine months after receiving it.

Hartford Financial Services Group also cut its risk by exiting certain annuities by offering clients cash for their contracts. It announced two years ago it was leaving the annuity business to focus on its property and casualty insurance, group benefits and mutual funds.

"I am proud of what our team has accomplished over the last five years, returning this iconic American company to a strong financial and competitive position and delivering value to shareholders," McGee said. "With our strategic transformation largely complete, it is the right time for the company and me personally to make this transition."

In January 2013, McGee told employees he underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor, and the company said at the time it was completely removed. McGee said then would undergo low-dose chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Thomas A. Renyi, presiding director of The Hartford, said Monday that the board had been "actively engaged in succession planning."

Shares of The Hartford slipped a penny to $36.22 in afternoon trading Monday. Its shares have risen almost 19 percent over the past year.

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