After launching an initiative to revamp its wealth management business in April, Hartford Financial Services Group announced Wednesday that John C. Walters, the president of wealth management, will leave the company at the end of July to “pursue other opportunities.”
The Hartford, Conn. company reported that David N. Levenson will replace Walters as of July 1.
The move seems abrupt given that just a few short months ago the company was expanding its wealth management group to improve cross-selling and increase assets under management by changing its dual-silo structure so Hartford acts as one company with three consumer divisions: commercial markets, consumer markets and wealth management.
The transition was set to be complete on July 1st, which is when the business begins operating as Wealth Management, and after working hard to see the company through these tough times, it was announced today that Walters will leave the company. Wealth Management is comprised of many of the businesses formerly within Hartford Life - mutual funds, retirement plans, annuities, life insurance, institutional and international (where the company no longer writes new business). Group Benefits (group life & disability), which was formerly part of Hartford Life, becomes part of Commercial Markets.
In April when The Hartford made its announcement, Walters said in an interview that he plans to cross-sell the company’s life insurance and retirement capabilities to these existing customers that own businesses. “When we look at all of the Hartford, we have one million businesses as customers, but from a wealth management standpoint, we never focused on going after their wealth management needs. This is a new initiative for us.”
Walters, who has worked for The Hartford since 2000, was promoted to the helm of the wealth management business when the transition was announced in April.
"John was very supportive of the new strategy and played a strong role in creating it," said Timothy Benedict, spokesperson for The Hartford, in a phone interview. "In light of the many changes at Hartford Life over the past two years and with the transition to wealth management complete, John and Liam agreed that this was the right time for a leadership change."
Levenson joined Hartford in 1995 from Fidelity Investments and has worked in nearly every aspect of the company's wealth management business. In 2005, he joined Hartford Investment Management Company as a managing director in charge of sales and marketing.
“I look forward to working with Dave as we implement our go-forward strategy and officially roll out the new organizational structure on July 1,” McGee said in a press release. "Dave has a proven track record of building and managing several successful businesses at The Hartford, including launching the company's mutual funds operations and revitalizing the retirement plans business.”