Liam McGee Steps Down as CEO of The Hartford

Jun 9, 2014

Retiring Hartford CEO Liam McGee.
Credit The Hartford

Liam McGee has announced he will relinquish day-to-day control at The Hartford Financial Services Group, after treatment earlier this year for a brain tumor.

McGee will be succeeded as CEO by Christopher Swift, who steps up from his position as Chief Financial Officer. Another internal candidate, Douglas Elliot, will become President. McGee will stay on as executive director of the board until the next shareholders' meeting.

All of the changes will be effective July 1.

McGee has led The Hartford since 2009, and has presided over a radical remaking of the insurer's strategy. He sold off its annuity and retirement plan businesses, significantly shrinking the company to focus on property-casualty lines.

Many of the changes were in response to the 2008 financial crisis, which left The Hartford in tough straits. It had borrowed $3.4 billion from the Treasury's Troubled Assets Relief Program to shore up its position. McGee repaid that loan within a year of assuming office.

Christopher Swift, soon to be CEO of The Hartford.
Credit The Hartford

In a statement issued by the company, McGee said, "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. With our strategic transformation largely complete, it is the right time for the company and me personally to make this transition...I look forward to continuing as chairman to ensure a smooth transition, while also devoting additional time to continued recovery from a recent procedure related to my previously disclosed health issue."

For his part, newly-nominated CEO Christopher Swift thanked McGee for his leadership and said,"we will remain focused on executing our strategy to deliver greater shareholder value by profitably growing our Property & Casualty, Group Benefits and Mutual Funds businesses, reducing the size and risk of our legacy annuity block and becoming a more effective and efficient organization."

Prior to joining The Hartford, Swift had been CFO at American Life Insurance Co, a unit of AIG.

Meanwhile, Beth Bombara will become CFO in Swift's place. She's currently head of Talcott Resolution, a unit of The Hartford.