Barbara Kowalczyk has decided to retire from her post as senior vice president of corporate planning and development at Lincoln Nation Corp.

Kowalczyk began working for an investment management unit of Lincoln, Philadelphia, in 1977 and took charge of mergers and acquisitions in 1994.

Fred Crawford, Lincoln’s chief financial officer, will take responsibility for mergers and acquisitions and branding after Kowalczyk retires, the company says.

In other personnel news:

- Hartford Life, Simsbury, Conn., a unit of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Hartford, has promoted Robert Reiff to senior vice president and director of distribution and field service for the group benefits division.

Reiff previously was vice president of sales and marketing at Standard Insurance Company, a unit of StanCorp Financial Group Inc., Portland, Ore.

Reiff has a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Nebraska.

- Genworth Financial Inc., Richmond, Va., has hired Chris Grady to be president of the retirement income business.

Grady previously was managing director and head of distribution at the retail banking arm of Merrill Lynch & Company Inc., New York. He started out as an agent at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Springfield, Mass.

Grady has a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York College at Cortland.

- AIG American General Structured Settlements, Houston, a unit of American International Group Inc., New York, has hired Ken Kiefer to be vice president of structured settlements strategic initiatives.

Kiefer previously was chief financial officer at a Charlotte, N.C., unit of MassMutual.

Kiefer has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and computer science from Eastern Michigan University.

- Symetra Life Insurance Company, Bellevue, Wash., has hired Ed Bondy to be the West Coast region regional vice president for the independent channel.

Bondy previously wholesaled mutual funds and alternative investments for Rydex Investments, Rockville, Md.

Bondy has a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of San Diego. He holds the Registered Financial Consultant professional designation.

- Eastern Insurance Holdings Inc., Lancaster, Pa., has hired Curt Melville to be vice president of underwriting at the Eastern Life & Health Insurance Company unit.

Melville previously was director of group underwriting at Harleysville Life Insurance Company, Harleysville, Pa.

Melville has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Clarion University.

- Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, Horsham, Pa., says Thomas Picone has become a managing director in the Tarrytown, N.Y., branch of Professional Economic Growth Group, Edison, N.J., a part of Penn Mutual’s career agency system.

Picone has a bachelor’s degree in communications from St. John’s University. He holds the Chartered Life Underwriter professional designation.

- HealthMarkets Inc., North Richland Hills, Texas, has hired Marc Franklin Jackson to be chief information officer.

Jackson previously was CIO at Private Healthcare Systems Inc., Waltham, Mass.

Jackson has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and accounting from the University of Evansville and a master’s degree in business from the University of Missouri at St. Louis.

- Meritain Health Inc., Amherst, N.Y., has hired Jeffrey Diekema to be regional vice president of sales for the region that includes self-funded benefit plans in Michigan and in Toledo, Ohio.

Diekema previously was director of self-funded sales at APA Partners/Capital District Physicians Health Plan, Albany, N.Y.

Diekema has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Central Michigan University. He holds the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist professional designation.

- Cogent Research L.L.C., Cambridge, Mass., has hired Bruce Harrington to be managing director of its wealth management practice.

Harrington previously was director of product development and marketing for MFS Investment Management, Boston.

Harrington has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Boston College and a master’s degree from Suffolk University.