Manulife overhauls structure and leadership

By The IJ Staff | September 12 2017 11:30AM

Manulife has announced several structural and leadership changes that the company says are aimed at driving better alignment with its strategic priorities, accelerating growth, optimizing legacy blocks of business in North America and leveraging talent across geographies.

"We are confident that the changes we are making today will enable us to achieve our significant potential and deliver on our purpose of helping customers achieve their dreams and aspirations," stated Roy Gori, Manulife's President and incoming Chief Executive Officer in an announcement issued Sept. 12. "Importantly, they showcase the bench strength of Manulife's senior leadership team, and position us strongly as we accelerate our transformation."

Realignment of Global Wealth and Asset Management

Manulife is bringing together its wealth and asset management businesses into a primary reporting segment, Global Wealth and Asset Management. “This will enable the company to capture significant market opportunities and take greater advantage of its global scale and talent, while further leveraging its deep local expertise and execution strength,” says the Manulife announcement.

Paul Lorentz has been appointed Head, Global Wealth and Asset Management effective Oct. 1, 2017. Lorentz, joined Manulife in 1993 and has held many senior roles including EVP & GM, Individual Wealth Management and Insurance. He will report to Warren Thomson, Manulife's Chief Investment Officer and will join Manulife's Executive Committee. Kai Sotorp, Head, Global Wealth and Asset Management, has decided to retire, says the company.

Legacy Business

Manulife also announced that it has created a dedicated senior leadership role with direct responsibility for Manulife's closed legacy businesses in North America. This includes legacy annuity business, long-term care insurance and select long-duration, guaranteed insurance products. Naveed Irshad has been appointed Head, North America Legacy Business, effective Jan. 1, 2018. He currently serves as the CEO of Manulife Singapore.

“Manulife has a stated objective to improve returns in its legacy businesses, and the creation of this new role will enable it to more aggressively pursue this opportunity with stronger accountability and focus on in-force management, cost efficiencies and leveraging scale, as well as potential strategic transactions for these businesses where it makes sense,” says the company. Irshad will report jointly to the heads of Manulife's U.S. and Canadian businesses and will join Manulife's Executive Committee.

Key leadership appointments

Manulife also announced a number of other key leadership appointments. These include the appointment of Anil Wadhwani as the new President and CEO for Manulife Asia, effective Nov. 13, 2017. Wadhwani has had a 25-year career with Citi, and most recently served as the global head of operations for Citi's consumer bank, based in New York.

Switching places

Marianne Harrison has been appointed President and CEO of John Hancock, Manulife's U.S. business. Harrison currently serves as President and CEO of Manulife Canada. Meanwhile, Michael Doughty who has been serving as interim President and CEO of John Hancock, has been appointed President and CEO of Manulife Canada. Both appointments are effective Oct. 1, 2017.

Harrison has experience in the U.S. market. Previously in her career with Manulife, she spent almost five years leading Manulife's U.S. long-term care business, “which provides her with unique insight into the opportunities and challenges the company faces in the U.S. market,” says Manulife.

Doughty, who joined Manulife in 1992, has previously held senior positions in Manulife's Canadian insurance and pensions businesses.

Steve Roder retires

Manulife announced that Steve Roder, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, has decided to retire for personal reasons, effective Dec. 31, 2017. Philip Witherington, currently the interim President and CEO of Manulife Asia, has been appointed Manulife's Chief Financial Officer, effective Jan. 1, 2018, subject to immigration approvals. Before taking his current role, Witherington served as Manulife Asia's CFO since 2014.

Elevating the role of Chief Actuary

Manulife has also decided to “elevate the role of Chief Actuary to reflect the importance of this function to the company's success.” As a result, Steven Finch, Manulife's Chief Actuary, will report directly to Roy Gori effective Jan. 1, 2018.

"I welcome these leaders to their new roles, and look forward to seeing the impact they will have on our teams and our business," Gori said. "I would also like to thank Steve Roder and Kai Sotorp for their many contributions to the company, and wish them all the best in retirement."

"Manulife is embarking on a transformational journey and today's announcement marks a very significant and positive step in this regard," said Donald Guloien, Manulife's retiring Chief Executive Officer.