A large insurer says it is losing a top financial executive.

David Johnson, 48, who has been chief financial officer of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Hartford, since 2001, will be leaving later this year, the company says.

Johnson “has agreed to remain as CFO until at least mid-2008 to ensure a smooth transition,” Hartford says. “A search for his successor is underway.

Hartford is “financially strong, and much of that is a credit to David’s stewardship,” Hartford Chairman Ramani Ayer says in a statement.

Before Johnson began working for Hartford in 1998, he was CFO of Cendant Corp., New York.

Alain Karaoglan, an analyst in the New York office of a securities unit of Bank of America Corp., says he expects Hartford to report solid profits for the fourth quarter.

“We believe that [Johnson's] departure does not imply any weakness in the company’s operations or financials,” Karaoglan writes. “We applaud Mr. Johnson’s contribution to the Hartford over the years.”