NU Online News Service, May 27, 2004, 3:20 p.m. EDT – John Hancock Financial Services Inc., Boston, has named a veteran distribution specialist chairman of its John Hancock Funds mutual fund unit.[@@]

The new fund unit chairman, James Shepherdson, took over as president of Hancock’s retirement services unit in 2003.

Before that, Shepherdson helped build the third-party marketing operation at Equitable Distributors Inc., New York, which is now a subsidiary of AXA S.A., Paris. He also served as co-chief executive officer of the MetLife Investors Group unit at MetLife Inc., New York. At MetLife Investors, he was responsible for increasing sales of MetLife annuities and life insurance products through outside channels.

Shepherdson is succeeding Maureen Ford Goldfarb. Goldfarb, who has run the Hancock funds since 2000, announced her departure shortly after Manulife Financial Corp., Toronto, acquired Hancock.