Cathy Weatherford (Photo: IRI) Cathy Weatherford (Photo: IRI)

The Insured Retirement Institute said Wednesday that Cathy Weatherford, the group’s president and chief executive officer, will retire in December.

IRI, a Washington-based group for the retirement income industry, said Weatherford’s upcoming retirement is part of a two-year succession plan. The IRI board is working with Wilbanks Partners, a search firm, to find a replacement.

(Related: Marc Cadin to Lead AALU)

The board will be looking at candidates who have served at the top levels in Congress or in federal regulatory agencies, or who have served as top executives at financial services companies, IRI said.

“The accelerating pace of change in the retirement income landscape, as well as IRI’s outstanding track record of the last decade under Cathy’s leadership, require the association to seek an extraordinary individual for its leadership,” IRI said.

Weatherford said in a statement that she is looking forward to setting IRI on track for “another 25 years of being the first-call association for the retirement income industry.”

Roots in Oklahoma

Weatherford started out by earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1977. She worked for the Oklahoma Insurance Department for 15 years. When she left, she was the insurance commissioner.

She moved on to serve as the CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners from 1996 to 2008.

IRI hired her to be its CEO in 2008, as the Great Recession was about to roll in.

Name Changes

IRI came to life as the National Association for Variable Annuities in 1990.

The National Association for Variable Annuities changed its name to NAVA, the Association for Insured Retirement Solutions, in 2006.

When Weatherford came aboard, she helped the group rebrand a second time, to adopt its current name. She also led the group as it moved its headquarters to downtown Washington, D.C., from Reston, Virginia.

The group has been a leader in the National Retirement Planning Coalition, and in the fight over the U.S. Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule.

— Read NAILBA Enters a New Age on ThinkAdvisor.

— Connect with ThinkAdvisor Life/Health on Facebook and Twitter.