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Heather Lavallee. (Photo: Voya)

Life Health > Life Insurance > Term Insurance

Voya Picks Heather Lavallee to Succeed Martin as CEO in 2023

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What You Need to Know

  • Voya has 14.3 million client relationships and has $707 billion in assets under management and administration.
  • Rod Martin led efforts to separate the company from ING, change its name to Voya, and focus the company's energy on sales of lower-risk products.
  • Lavallee started out as a sales rep and worked her way up through regional vice president roles.

The board of Voya Financial has picked Heather Lavallee to succeed Rodney Martin Jr. as the company’s president and CEO Jan. 1, 2023.

Martin is currently the chairman of the New York-based insurer and asset manager as well as its president and CEO, and he will continue to be the chairman in 2023, the company says,

Martin took charge of Voya in 2011 — before it was known as Voya  —  and reshaped its operations. He jettisoned the operations that tied the company’s fortunes to fluctuations in interest rates and stock prices and focused the company’s efforts on sales of investment managers and on writing employee benefits products and insurance products that tend to be relatively easy to reprice when conditions change.

Today, Voya has 14.3 million client relationships, 6,000 employees and $707 billion in assets under management and administration.

Lavallee said in a comment, included in the succession plan announcement, that she sees Voya as a company committed to helping clients with their health, wealth and investment needs.

“We are well-positioned for continued growth across each of our businesses,” Lavallee said.

What It Means

When clients haul in their folders full of very important papers, many of the life insurance coverage certificates, disability insurance coverage certificates, retirement plan statements and mutual fund statements may come from Voya.

As head of Voya, Lavallee could be your competitor, your toolmaker, your client creator and one of the people speaking for financial services firms in Washington, all on the same day.


Voya came into existence as a life, health and annuity subsidiary of ING, a Dutch financial services company, in 1991.

The ING U.S. business acquired Minneapolis-based ReliaStar in 2000, and Aetna’s Aetna Financial Services unit in 2000.

ING turned Voya into a separate company in 2013 in response to pressures related to the 2007-2009 Great Recession. The company took the name “Voya” in 2014.

Voya was once a major annuity provider. It transferred most of its annuity business to Venerable Holdings in 2018.

The company is now a major provider of mutual funds and institutional asset management services, and a major employee benefits provider.

Voya ranked 13th in the United States in terms of 2020 premium revenue from group life insurance operations, according to National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ data compiled by the American Council of Life Insurers.

Rod Martin

Martin was an executive at AIG before taking over as head of the ING U.S. insurance business. He led efforts to separate the company from ING, change its name to Voya, and focus the company’s energy on sales of lower-risk products.

He started out in insurance in 1975 as an agent at Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company.

He has served on the board of the American Council of Life Insurers since 2016.

Heather Lavallee

Lavallee became CEO of Voya’s Wealth Solutions unit in March 2021.

She began her career in financial services as a sales representative at Sun Life Financial in 1992.

Since then, she has spent about three years as a regional vice president of Mutual of Omaha; two years as a regional vice president for employee benefits at what was then ING; five years as president of Voya’s benefits unit; and about five years as president of Voya’s tax-exempts markets business.

She is a member of the board of the National Down Syndrome Society.

She also has written for industry publications, including an article for a ThinkAdvisor predecessor publication about how benefits providers should respond to the changes created by the Affordable Care Act.

Pictured: Heather Lavallee. (Photo: Voya)


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