Sandra S. Wijnberg, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc., plans to resign in March 2006, the company announced late yesterday.

In a statement, Ms. Wijnberg said that since MMC is on the road to recovery after its recent challenges, it is time “to explore the next stage of my professional career.”

She continued, “The past five-and-a-half years at MMC have been among the most challenging and rewarding of my career. MMC is a great company with businesses that have, and will continue to build, strong market positions.”

Ms. Wijnberg, 49, joined New York-based MMC in January 2000 in her current position. From 1997 through 1999, she was senior vice president and treasurer of Yum! Brands Inc. (formerly Tricon Global Restaurants Inc.). Prior to joining Yum! Brands, she spent three years with PepsiCo Inc., last serving as senior vice president and chief financial officer of its KFC Corporation division. Before joining PepsiCo, Ms. Wijnberg spent 12 years in investment banking.

Michael G. Cherkasky, president and chief executive officer of MMC, said: “While we are disappointed that Sandra has decided to leave MMC, we greatly appreciate the substantial contributions she has made. With her skills, professionalism and energy, she has added significant value to the company and led a first-class finance team. I am especially grateful for her wisdom and guidance during recent challenging months for MMC.”

Mr. Cherkasky said the company has begun a search for a successor and that Ms. Wijnberg has agreed to stay through the transition period.

The professional services firm, whose companies include the insurance brokerage firm Marsh, the investment firm Putnam and the consulting firm Mercer, has been engaged in a series of legal scandals over the past few months involving all three entities.

In October, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sued MMC over allegations of kickbacks and steering of insurance contracts to carriers paying profitable volume-based contingent commissions. MMC subsequently agreed to abolish contingent commissions–a loss of more than $800 million in 2004–and pay $850 million into a settlement fund to be dispensed to clients affected by the commissions.