ING U.S. Names Michael Smith to Run Insurance as Britton Retires

Jan 09, 2014 1:51 pm ET

Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) -- ING U.S. Inc., the insurer being divested by its Dutch parent, promoted Michael Smith to chief executive officer of the insurance unit as Butch Britton retires.

Smith, 50, is currently the New York-based insurer’s chief risk officer. Britton, 65, will be a senior adviser to CEO Rodney Martin and Smith until June 30, ING U.S. said today in a statement. Chet Ragavan, 59, chief risk officer of investment management, will succeed Smith.

“We are fortunate to have the necessary executive bench strength to promote into these important roles from within the organization and thus preserve the continuity with our employees, customers, clients, and distribution partners,” Martin said in the statement.

ING U.S. has gained 87 percent since an initial public offering in May that raised more than $1 billion. The seller of life insurance and retirement products is being divested by ING Groep NV as a condition of the Amsterdam-based company’s bailout.

Smith is a former CEO of an ING U.S annuity business, and has worked at Lincoln National Corp. Ragavan was a managing director and co-head of a portfolio analytics group for BlackRock Inc., ING U.S. said in the statement.

ING U.S., which is planning to be renamed Voya Financial, fell 1.7 percent to $36.42 at 1:16 p.m. in New York. Mark Palmer, an analyst at BTIG LLC, downgraded the stock to neutral from buy today after the shares reached his target price of $37 yesterday.

--Editors: Dan Reichl, Dan Kraut