A former John Hancock Life Insurance Company chief is heading the new employee benefits unit at an executive compensation consulting firm.

Clark Consulting Inc., Barrington, Ill., says the unit, Clark Benson L.L.C., will focus on financial planning, wealth transfer and employee benefits for the high-net-worth market.

The unit is headed by James Benson, former president of John Hancock Life Insurance Company, Boston, a division of Manulife Financial Corp., Toronto. Benson will have a 25% ownership stake in Clark Benson.