F&G CEO Chris Littlefield leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After about a year in the position
  • Thanks and good wishes for Littlefield
  • Chris Blunt taking over
  • Littlefield kept it short and said 40 words

(exechange) — Des Moines, Iowa, December 19, 2018 — Chris Littlefield, chief executive of F&G, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by FGL Holdings in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Wednesday, December 19, 2018, Christopher James (Chris) Littlefield leaves his post as Chief Executive Officer at the provider of annuities and life insurance after about a year in the role, effective immediately.

No company wants a CEO to flame out in the first years.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months was 8.8 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Only 14 percent of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months left the position within two years, and 23 percent left the position within three years.

Chris Littlefield’s duties will be taken over by Christopher Owsley (Chris) Blunt, most recently Senior Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Blackstone Insurance Solutions.

The fact that Chris Littlefield’s successor is brought in from outside suggests that the board may seek to stimulate change with fresh ideas and new initiatives.

In general, an outsider does not have the constraints of an insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions.

Chris Littlefield’s move is part of a management shake-up also involving the position of Head of Corporate Development and Strategy.

“Actions designed to enhance shareholder value”

A reason for Chris Littlefield’s sudden departure from the CEO post was not explicitly provided. F&G said: “Additionally, the Company introduced a number of actions designed to enhance shareholder value, including additions to the Company’s leadership team, a new share repurchase program, a quarterly dividend and a cost reduction program.”

Precise information regarding Chris Littlefield’s future plans was not immediately available.

“Resignation”

F&G said: “Christopher Blunt has been appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer succeeding Christopher Littlefield.”

F&G further said: “Mr. Blunt succeeds Christopher Littlefield whose resignation was effective December 19, 2018.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in FGL Holdings’s share price of 39 percent since March 2018.

In the position of CEO since 2017

Christopher J. Littlefield joined FGL Holdings as President and Chief Executive Officer and has been a member of the Company’s board of directors since November 2017.

Littlefield served as the President of Fidelity & Guaranty Life (“FGL”) starting in October 2014 and assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer of FGL in May 2015.

Littlefield served as President and Chief Executive Officer of FGL until its acquisition by CF Corp in November 2017.

He also served on the board of directors of FGL from April 2015 to November 2017.

Littlefield has extensive financial services and public company experience, having served as President and Chief Executive Officer from February 2009 to October 2013 and Chief Operating Officer from February 2008 to September 2009 of Aviva USA Corporation, a provider of indexed universal life and indexed annuity products.

He served as Executive Vice-President, General Counsel and Secretary from January 2006 to February 2008 of AmerUs Group Co., a provider of individual life insurance and annuity products, which was acquired by Aviva plc in November 2006.

He also served as Senior Vice-President and General Manager-Food Products from November 2004 to January 2006 and Senior Vice-President, General Counsel and Secretary from January 1998 to January 2006 of The Dial Corporation.

Littlefield received a B.S. in Business Administration, cum laude, from University of Arizona and a J.D. with high distinction from the University of Iowa.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Chris Littlefield’s sudden move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 52.2018 ($).