Charles Lowrey (Photo: Prudential) Charles Lowrey (Photo: Prudential)

The board of Prudential Financial Inc. has picked the head of its non-U.S. operations, rather than a manager of the U.S. operations, to be the company’s next leader.

The company says Charles Lowrey will take over from John Strangfeld as the company’s chief executive officer Dec. 1, and as the company’s next chairman April 5, 2019.

Lowrey has been the chief operating officer in charge of Prudential’s international businesses since March 2014.

(Related: Manulife Names Gori President)

Lowrey was in charge of the company’s investment management arm from January 2008 through February 2011 — a period that includes the Great Recession, which appeared on the horizon in 2007 and crested in 2008 and 2009.

Lowrey led Prudential U.S. operations from 2011 through 2014.

Lowrey’s rise may reflect the growing importance of international operations to life insurers based in North America. In March 2017, for example, the board of Manulife Financial Corp. picked the head of its Asia division to be that company’s president. The Million Dollar Round Table is on track to have Ross Vanderwolf, a financial planner from Australia, be its 2019 president.

Lowrey and Falzon

Prudential made a point of saying that it has named another top executive, Robert Falzon, to be the company’s vice chairman, and to be a member of the company’s office of the chairman.

Falzon has been Prudential’s chief financial officer.

Prudential also announced that Mark Grier, Prudential’s current vice chairman, will retire from the company and step down from the board in August 2019. Falzon will then join the Prudential board, according to Prudential.

Grier will help Falzon and Lowrey with their transitions, and he will conclude “some specific strategic projects,” according to Prudential.

Strangfeld said in a statement that Lowrey has a broad perspective on the company’s operations and a deep understanding of its people.

“The board is also pleased that Rob will assume the role of vice chairman and join Charlie as a member of Prudential’s Office of the Chairman,” Strangfeld said of Falzon. “Both Charlie and Rob are outstanding executives with the capabilities to successfully execute Prudential’s strategy.”

Grier said in a statement that Prudential is fortunate to have a deep bench of talented leaders, including Lowrey and Falzon.

Lowrey’s Background

Lowrey majored in architecture at Princeton. He then earned a master’s degree in architecture at Yale, and a master’s degree in business at Harvard.

He started out in the business world in the real estate investment banking operation at J.P. Morgan.

He first began to work for Prudential in 2001, as the chief executive officer of the company’s Prudential Real Estate Investors business.

John Strangfeld

Strangfeld’s retirement concludes a remarkable, four-decade-long career with Prudential, including serving as chairman and CEO since 2008.

(Related: Strangfeld To Succeed Ryan At Prudential)

Strangfeld has been working for Prudential for 41 years.

When he took over as CEO, in early 2008, he was running the company’s life and annuity operation.

The company says he helped make Prudential one of the 10 largest global asset managers. The company had $1.4 trillion in assets under management as of June 30.

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