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IRI Announces High-Profile Board Appointments

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The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) announced Wednesday, June 16, that it has added five industry leaders to the ranks of its leadership Board of Directors. The announcement comes on the one-year anniversary of its rebranding away from the National Association for Variable Annuities (NAVA). Joining the IRI Board are:

? Gary C. Bhojwani, president and chief executive officer for Allianz Life;

? Chris Blunt, executive vice president, Retirement Income Security at New York

Life Insurance Company;

? Lynne Ford, chief executive officer of ING Financial Solutions;

? George Gatch, president and chief executive officer of JP Morgan Funds; and

? John Papadopulos, president of Wells Fargo Retirement.

“Over the course of the past year, IRI has embraced a new dynamic – championing the virtues [of] insured retirement strategies while delivering rich education and resources to advisors and consumers alike,” said IRI President and CEO Cathy Weatherford, in a statement. “Under the strategic direction of our outstanding Board of Directors, IRI has successfully helped reshape the debate on holistic retirement planning. By expanding the Board to include five of the nation’s most prominent leaders, we will further position ourselves as the preeminent lifetime income organization.”

“IRI has quickly filled an important void within our industry, bringing the entire supply chain of insured retirement strategies into one organization,” added Jamie Shepherdson, IRI’s chairman and president of retirement savings for AXA Equitable. “Insiders and external audiences alike are taking notice of the strength of IRI’s membership and the positive role the association plays as an expert resource. We are pleased to have these leaders join the Board, and look forward working as a team to foster additional successes at IRI.”

The organization also announced that is has launched its member’s only website – – offering 30,000 financial professionals access to the latest industry news, resources, client approved materials, continuing education credits and research.


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