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New Nationwide Unit Pursues Retired Consumers

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NU Online News Service, May 5, 2004, 6:03 p.m. EDT – Retirement income planning will be huge.[@@]

Executives at Nationwide Financial Services Inc., Columbus, Ohio, are letting that principle shape the company’s new operating model.

The company will be adding an advisory services unit to its individual investments business segment, but the biggest change will be the creation of an “in-retirement” segment.

The in-retirement segment will focus on selling immediate annuities and developing products designed for individuals who already are retired, Nationwide Financial says.

“Historically, our industry has focused on helping baby boomers save for retirement,” says Mark Thresher, Nationwide Financial’s new president. “Now, these same baby boomers are entering retirement, and their need to draw income from their retirement savings is increasing.”

Nationwide Financial already sells some products suitable for retired consumers, but it could be doing more, Thresher says.

Nationwide Financial is still looking for a leader for the in-retirement segment.

Thresher has been Nationwide Financial’s president-elect since December 2003, when Joseph Gasper, 60, the company’s former president, announced that he himself was going to become a retired consumer. The company now has formally elected Thresher president.

Thresher, 46, spent 18 years at KPMG L.L.P. before joining Nationwide Financial as the company’s treasurer in 1996. He become Nationwide Financial’s chief financial officer in 2002.

W.G. Jurgensen continues to be Nationwide Financial’s chief executive officer.

In related news, Nationwide Financial has named Peter Golato to run its individual protection segment, Duane Meek to run its retirement plans segment, and Mark Phelan to run its individual investments segments.

M. Eileen Kennedy, the chief financial officer, will oversee actuarial functions as well as finance, the company says.

Nationwide Financial also has reported $119.6 million in net income for the first quarter on $1 billion in revenue, up from $72 million in net income on $991.6 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2003.