Herbalife Critique at Ackman Event Gets Hartford Executive Fired

Jul 29, 2014 2:50 pm ET

July 29 (Bloomberg) -- Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. fired an executive after he made comments critical of Herbalife Ltd. to the media.

William Kelly, who was a vice president at the Hartford, Connecticut-based insurer, was terminated last week, he said by phone, declining to comment further.

Kelly made the remarks on the sidelines of a July 22 presentation given by hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman, who is betting on a decline in Herbalife shares and said that the seller of weight-loss shakes is committing fraud. A MoneyBeat article posted on the Wall Street Journal’s website reported that Kelly was wary about providing some insurance coverage to Herbalife, because he wasn’t comfortable with the company’s business model.

The insurer “takes very seriously its obligations to protect The Hartford’s business information including that related to its customers and potential customers,” Shannon Lapierre, a spokeswoman for the company, said in an e-mail. “We have a number of policies and procedures in place that address the protection of company information.”

Lapierre said she couldn’t comment on personnel matters. Kelly’s dismissal was reported earlier today by Business Insider.

Kelly has spent more than two decades in the insurance industry, working at Chubb Corp. and Arch Capital Group Ltd., before joining Hartford in 2009, according to his profile on LinkedIn.