A Midwestern insurer has named a longtime company veteran to succeed its top executive.

The board of Principal Financial Group Inc., Des Moines, Iowa, has elected Larry Zimpleman to take over as chief executive officer May 1.

J. Barry Griswell, Principal’s current chairman and CEO, will give up the CEO title on that date but continue as chairman, Principal says.

“Zimpleman will assume complete responsibility for company strategy and operations,” Principal says.

Zimpleman began working for Principal in 1971 as a part-time actuarial student and became a full-time actuary in 1973.

He has worked in the pension and retirement services operations, and he became president and chief operating officer of Principal in 2006.

Zimpleman has a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s degree in business from Drake University.

Zimpleman is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries, Schaumburg, Ill., in 1976, and he is a past president of the society.

Zimpleman also is a past chairman of the board of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington, and a past president and a past chairman of the American Academy of Actuaries, Washington.

Zimpleman now is chairman of the Harris Trust committee at the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington.