March 29, 2021

Voya revamps leadership structure to widen record-keeping business

Voya Financial is doubling down on its retirement plan record-keeping business. In its latest move…

Voya Financial is doubling down on its retirement plan record-keeping business. In its latest move to expand the scope of the business, the company reshuffled its leadership team, creating two new vice chairman positions as well as two new CEO roles to lead the company’s wealth and health services.

The reorganization of the senior management team will help advance the company’s focus on workplace and institutional clients, said Charles P. Nelson, the company’s new chief growth officer and one of its two new vice chairmen.

The retirement business is not solely about selling 401(k) plans but also all the related services to meet client needs more holistically, Mr. Nelson said in an interview.

“Rather than solving for just the 401(k), we want to solve for a broader set of solutions,” he said, referring to services such as emergency savings, student debt management and health savings accounts.

As of Dec. 31, Voya had $520 billion in total retirement client assets, according to Voya’s latest financial results.

In his new position as chief growth officer, Mr. Nelson will lead and shape the company’s growth strategy “across various solutions sets,” he said.

As part of his role, Mr. Nelson will target new customer segments and services, and oversee revenue-growth activities, such as sales and distribution, relationship management, health and wealth marketing, and customer solutions.

Mr. Nelson declined to disclose what new customer segments and services the company would pursue, saying only that “those are things that we are going to continually evolve and evaluate.”

As part of the reorganization, the company’s chief financial officer, Michael S. Smith, assumed the additional role as vice chairman. Michael Katz, Voya’s chief strategy, planning and investor relations officer, and Santhosh Keshavan, Voya’s chief information officer, also joined Voya’s executive team as executive vice presidents, reporting to Mr. Smith, a news release said.

In addition, Heather Lavallee, former president of retirement tax-exempt markets, became CEO of wealth solutions; and Robert Grubka, former president of employee benefits, became CEO of health solutions. Mr. Grubka and Ms. Lavallee also joined Voya’s executive committee, reporting to Voya’s chairman and CEO, Rodney O. Martin Jr. The duo will collaborate with Christine Hurtsellers, CEO of investment management, to accelerate Voya’s business growth, the news release said.

Lastly, William Harmon, previously president of retirement corporate markets, assumed a new role as Voya’s chief client officer, leading health and wealth sales, distribution and relationship management teams. He reports to Mr. Nelson.

The management reorganization advances “the company’s strategy to deliver health, wealth and investment solutions to and through the workplace to help employers and individuals from hire through retire,” Mr. Nelson said.

The organizational changes follow the company’s announcement in February that it would sell its independent financial planning business, Voya Financial Advisors, to Cetera Financial Group, a move it said would increase the company’s focus on workplace retirement plans.

The sale will provide the company with more than $300 million in what Mr. Martin described during an earnings call in February as “deployable proceeds” when the deal closes in the second or third quarter.

The anticipated sale of Voya Financial Advisors, along with the sale of the company’s individual life insurance business in January, “mark important milestones in the company’s transformation to focus on serving the workplace and institutional client,” he said.