AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co. has named a former New York insurance department official to head its insurance products practice group.

AXA Equitable, New York, part of AXA S.A. Paris, announced that Kermitt Brooks, most recently an official with the New York State Insurance Department, has been named associate general counsel in charge of the insurance products practice group with the company’s law department.

Brooks, with the insurance department since 2007, had been first deputy superintendent responsible for the state agency’s Life Bureau. He had also been deputy attorney general of operations at the New York State Office of the Attorney General from 2002 to 2007.

In other personnel announcements:

The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America appointed Christopher Stout as a regional vice president for Georgia and Alabama.

The appointment was part of a company program to expand its national retirement solutions sales force to support its strategy of offering its specialized retirement products to small and mid-sized businesses across the U.S., according to Guardian, New York.

Stout joins Guardian from Automatic Data Processing Inc., where he was retirement services district manager for the state of Georgia.

Standard Insurance Company, Portland, Ore., hired Katherine Durham as vice president of marketing and communications.

Standard, a subsidiary of StanCorp Financial Group Inc., says Durham will lead the corporate marketing and communications group and be responsible for corporate-wide marketing strategy and services, corporate communications and e-business.

Previously, she was vice president of marketing for Hewlett-Packard Inc.’s Americas Imaging and Printing Group, Palo Alto, Calif.

Sammons Financial Group, Chicago, has named Esfand Dinshaw as its chief executive officer, reporting to Mike Masterson, company chairman.

Senior executives from each of the member companies of Sammons will report to Dinshaw, according to a company announcement.

Dinshaw joined Midland National Life Insurance Company, a Sammons unit, in 1999.

The company also promoted Cindy Reed as president of Sammons Annuity Group. She also will continue as president of Sammons Securities Company, its broker-dealer.

Celent L.L.C., Boston, announced it has hired Craig Beattie and Karen Monks as insurance analysts and Jim Pelis as a senior account manager in its insurance group.

Beattie will be based in the firm’s London office. Before joining Celent, he had been an applications architect with Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

Monks had been an analyst for a financial valuation company in Virginia.

Pelis has been in the research, advisory, and consulting industry for 10 years.. Most recently, he was with Collective Next and Datamonitor.

Dearborn National has appointed William Johnson regional vice president of sales. In his new role, Johnson will direct sales activities in the Northeast region, developing strategies to acquire and retain business, says Dearborn, a unit of Health Care Service Corp., Chicago.

Most recently, Johnson was a regional sales director at MetLife Inc., New York