Principal hires next general counsel

Dec 10, 2019
Karen Shaff has announced her intention to retire next year

Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal Financial Group has recruited Christopher Littlefield as its new general counsel, effective January 13.

In his new role as executive vice president and general counsel, Littlefield will report to Principal chair, president and CEO Dan Houston.

Littlefield is succeeding the company’s current executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary Karen Shaff, who has announced her intention to retire on July 1, 2020 after spending nearly 38 years at Principal.

Shaff will be an adviser to Littlefield and will hold the titles of executive vice president, chief legal officer and secretary until March 1, 2020, when Littlefield will assume the corporate secretary responsibilities along with oversight of government relations, community relations and the Principal Foundation.

Littlefield is a former president and CEO of Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Holdings and, according to his LinkedIn profile, is also a former president and CEO of what was then Aviva USA. The business was sold to Holding in 2013.

Shaff joined Principal in 1982 as an attorney in the company’s law department. She became secretary to the Principal board of directors in 2014.

‘Karen has not only been a great legal adviser for us over the past three decades, but also a trusted partner to four Principal CEOs and our board of directors,’ Houston says in a statement. ‘Her legal prowess and knowledge have guided us, contributing to our ongoing growth around the world and success in new business opportunities. We greatly appreciate all Karen has done and wish her the very best in retirement.’

He adds: ‘Chris brings not only his expertise as a general counsel, but as a CEO and business leader. His unique experience will provide a welcomed perspective to the team. As part of the executive management group, Chris will help oversee and provide legal solutions to our businesses around the world.’

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