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Management Strategies

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The Hartford Names Liam McGee New CEO

McGee, Bank of America's former head of consumer banking, oversaw that company's global technology and delivery in more than 30 countries.

The Hartford Financial Services Group (Hartford) has appointed Liam E. McGee, Bank of America's former head of consumer banking, the company's new chairman and CEO.

McGee left Bank of America Corp. in August after a nearly 20-year career, as CEO Ken Lewis shuffled his management team under pressure from shareholders and the U.S. government in the wake of receiving $45 billion in federal bailout aid, according to a press release from The Hartford. In addition to serving as president of the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank's core consumer and small business banking operations, McGee oversaw BofA's global technology and delivery in more than 30 countries and had been seen as a possible successor to Lewis.

The change in leadership comes as insurers have seen their investment portfolios slammed by steep drops in stocks, real estate and other financial assets. Earlier this year, Hartford Financial posted a $1.2 billion first-quarter loss and suspended sales of annuities in Japan and the U.K. in a move to cut costs, the Hartford source acknowledges. At the time, Ayer said Hartford Financial was taking steps to preserve capital, reduce risk and stabilize ratings.

At the company's annual meeting in May, Ayer defended his Hartford Financial's response to the recession. He announced his retirement in June.

Hartford Financial is one of six life insurers that were approved by the government to tap its $700 billion bailout program. The company received $3.4 billion in funds in late June.

Shares of Hartford Financial fell $1.18, or 4 percent, to close at $27.44 before the announcement. They were down a penny after-hours. McGee was born in Ireland but grew up in Southern California and speaks Spanish fluently. He graduated from the University of San Diego and got his MBA from Pepperdine University. He also has a law degree from Loyola Law School, according to Hartford Financial.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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