With an eye towards increasing its strategic focus on priority markets, Securian Financial announced several leadership promotions and a new hire, including the promotion of Sid Gandhi to executive vice president of Employee Benefits Solutions.
Gandhi succeeds Bruce Shay, who recently retired after 37 years with the company, according to the firm’s announcement. He will report to Chris Hilger, chairman, president and CEO.
As executive vice president of Employee Benefits Solutions, Gandhi assumes responsibility for Securian Financial’s largest business, which includes group life insurance and voluntary solutions offered through employers. He has served the business as senior vice president since January 2022. Gandhi also serves as board chair for Empyrean Benefit Solutions, an independently operated Securian Financial subsidiary.
Since joining Securian Financial in 2010, Gandhi has helped the company build capabilities and drive growth by overseeing strategic planning, leading mergers and acquisitions, centralizing marketing, transforming enterprise technology and more.
The firm also announced that Lydia Jilek has joined as second vice president and voluntary benefits practice leader, reporting to Gandhi. Serving in a new leadership position for the company, Jilek directs Securian Financial’s efforts to meet market demand for voluntary solutions.
Jilek has nearly 20 years of employee benefits experience, most recently with Willis Towers Watson, where she led consulting teams supporting the voluntary benefits needs of Fortune 1000 employers. Previously, she led the voluntary benefits product team at Voya and held product development and market leadership positions with Unum and Medica.
In addition, Sara Kaufman was promoted to second vice president and chief actuary, reporting to Bob Ehren, senior vice president. She now leads the company’s actuarial function, including modeling and valuation. Kaufman joined the firm in 2018 as actuarial consulting director and assistant chief actuary. She has 20 years of experience in the life insurance industry, with expertise in actuarial modeling, financial reporting and risk management.
New Subsidiary Leadership
Suzette Huovinen is the new president and CEO of Securian Asset Management, Inc., a Securian Financial subsidiary. She succeeds Sean O’Connell, who will serve as chief investment officer until his retirement in July 2023. Most recently, Huovinen was Securian Financial’s senior vice president of finance, leading the company’s financial planning and analysis, tax, procurement and other finance functions. Huovinen joined Securian Financial in 1997.
“A strong leadership team is critical to the short- and long-term success of a company,” said Hilger. “I am confident Securian Financial has the right leaders in place to win in the markets to which we are committed.”