CNO Financial shakes up senior executive team

Carmel-based CNO Financial Group Inc. on Monday announced key changes to its executive team.

Gary Bhojwani, the former CEO of Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America, has been hired as CNO's president, effective April 18.

Erik Helding, who had been CNO's senior vice president-treasury and investor relations, was promoted to vice president and chief financial officer, effective immediately.

Chief Business Officer Scott Perry has decided to leave the Company to "pursue other opportunities," the company said. Perry had been with the company since 2003 and in his current position since 2007. Bhojwani will take over Perry's duties.

Bhojwani most recently was a board member at Allianz SE and chairman of Allianz of America, Allianz Life Insurance Co. and Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. He was president and CEO of Minneapolis-based Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America from 2007 to 2012.

The company hasn't had an executive with the title of president since 2006, when William Kirsch was CEO and president of predecessor firm Conseco Inc.

Bhojwani and Helding will report to CEO Ed Bonach, the company said.

"Gary's expertise and proven leadership will be invaluable in profitably growing our businesses and supporting the implementation of our strategy," Bonach said in written comments. "I look forward to working closely with him over the coming years to continue to improve our execution, grow our company, and achieve our strategic objectives."

Helding joined CNO in 2004 as director of finance for Bankers Life and Colonial Penn. He previously held finance positions with GE Capital.

"Erik is an outstanding executive with significant business experience and a proven track record of successfully leading the financial operations of our evolving businesses," Bonach said. "During his tenure at CNO, Erik has made valuable contributions to our finance functions, and we are confident that his strong leadership, financial acumen, and broad expertise will help us continue to scale our growing businesses and drive shareholder value."

Helding replaces CFO Fred Crawford, who resigned and joined Georgia-based insurer Aflac Inc. in June.

CNO shares rose 13 cents, to $17.22 each, in after-hours trading following the announcement.

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