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Hartford CEO Swift takes chairman’s role ahead of schedule

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(Bloomberg) — Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Christopher Swift was named to the additional post of chairman in a transition that occurred earlier than the insurer had initially planned.

Swift, 53, replaces former CEO Liam McGee, 60, as chairman, according to a statement today from Hartford, the insurer based in the Connecticut city of the same name. The company said in June that McGee would serve as chairman until the 2015 shareholders’ meeting. The annual gatherings are usually held in May.

“Over the past six months, the Hartford has executed a seamless and highly successful leadership transition,” Thomas A. Renyi, independent presiding director for Hartford, said in the statement. “This is the optimal governance structure for the organization to continue to deliver against its business strategy.”

McGee, a former Bank of America Corp. executive who took over as CEO of Hartford 2009, stepped down from that post in June after a medical procedure related to a brain tumor. He sold a life insurer, a Japan annuity business, and a retirement plans operation as part of his strategy to narrow Hartford’s focus.

Swift joined Hartford in 2010 from American International Group Inc. Tom Hambrick, a spokesman for Hartford, declined to comment.

–With assistance from Sonali Basak and Zachary Tracer in New York.