NU Online News Service, Sept. 5, 10:54 a.m. – Protective Life Corp., Birmingham, Ala., has hired Allen Ritchie to serve as executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Ritchie previously was president of Per-Se Technologies Inc., Atlanta, a medical office software company. He left Per-Se in late 2000.

Ritchie has also served as president of AGCO Corp., Duluth, Ga., a farm equipment manufacturer; and as a partner with Arthur Anderson L.L.P., Chicago, the accounting firm.

Protective Life has not had an executive with the CFO title in several years, although it has had a treasurer and a chief accounting officer.

The Ritchie hiring comes on the heels of an announce that John Johns, who has been president and chief operating officer of the company since 1996 and previously served as CFO, will succeed Drayton Nabers Jr. as chief executive officer at the end of the year.

The company reported in July that it was selling its dental insurance unit to Fortis Benefits, Kansas City, Mo., a unit of Fortis N.V., to free $200 million in capital.