Northwestern Mutual promotes eight to senior leadership roles

Company continues restructuring efforts

The Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons office building in downtown Milwaukee.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:21 pm

Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. has promoted several employees to key senior leadership positions to “advance transformation across the enterprise.”

The Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons office building in downtown Milwaukee is scheduled for completion in the fall.

Bethany Rodenhuis has been named senior vice president-transformation. Rodenhuis has worked at Northwestern Mutual for 22 years, most recently as head of distribution strategy and planning. She holds a juris doctor degree from Marquette University and a bachelor’s in economics from Northern Michigan University. In her new role, Rodenhuis will be responsible for leading the company’s transformation strategies in a unified way. She will report directly to John Schlifske, chairman and chief executive officer.

Alexa von Tobel has been appointed chief digital officer. She previously founded and served as CEO of subsidiary LearnVest, which Northwestern Mutual acquired in 2015, and also was executive officer and vice president of digital client and field solutions. As CDO, von Tobel will increase the pace of Northwestern Mutual’s digital changes. She holds a bachelor’s from Harvard and attended Harvard Business School.

Aditi Gokhale has been named executive officer and chief marketing officer. Gokhale previously served as chief marketing officer at LearnVest for less than a year. Earlier in her career, she helped Shutterstock, American Express and Nutrisystem strengthen their brands. Gokhale holds a bachelor’s and MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As CMO, she will work to build the Northwestern Mutual brand and increase client and prospect engagement across the company.

Lisa Cadotte has been promoted to executive officer and vice president-investment risk and operations. She has worked at Northwestern Mutual for 21 years and has been leading investment risk and operations since last year.

Hamilton Faris was named executive officer and vice president-data and analytics. He joined the company last year and was promoted from global data strategy and insights delivery head.

Courtney Reynolds has been appointed executive officer and vice president-communications and corporate affairs. She joined the company in 2015 as vice president-corporate communications.

Emilia Sherifova was promoted to executive officer and vice president-architecture and engineering. She previously served as chief technology officer at LearnVest, and will now lead the development of a five-year technology plan for the company.

And Ainslie Simmonds was appointed executive officer and vice president-digital products and design. She will also remain chief operating officer of LearnVest, and will manage digital products and design teams, which develop products for web and mobile, user experience, visual design and voice of client.

All of the changes have been approved by Northwestern Mutual’s board of trustees and will take place June 1.

“These forward-thinking leaders will play a critical role in transforming our business to provide more people with financial security,” Schlifske said in a statement. “They have distinct strengths and a shared commitment to deliver results and an unmatched client experience.”

Northwestern Mutual has $238.5 billion in assets, $27.9 billion in revenues and more than $1.6 trillion worth of life insurance protection in force. The company has more than 4.4 million customers. The company has approximately 5,800 Milwaukee-area employees. It has been restructuring its operations and workforce as it builds a new $450 million office tower and a $100 million apartment tower downtown, and experiences pressure from low interest rates. In September, Northwestern Mutual laid off 100 employees and said it would eliminate “hundreds more” this year.

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Molly Dill
Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.