Principal Financial Group® today appointed Robert van Dijk as CEO of its business operations in Brazil. In this newly created role, van Dijk will be responsible for helping Principal® develop and execute its strategy and growth plans in the market by strengthening its local position as a global pension and asset management leader.
Van Dijk has more than 40 years of experience in the financial and capital markets industry, most notably 12 years with Banco Bradesco and nine years with Banco Votorantim. He joins Principal from Hieron Family Equity and Investment, which he was a founding partner in 2019.
“As the Brazilian market has grown, demand from our customers for global investment products has grown with it. We are excited to appoint a leader who will help us better serve those needs while also strengthening our company,” said Dan Houston, president and chief executive officer for Principal Financial Group. “Robert brings tremendous experience to Principal with deep roots in Brazil. Adding him will accelerate our plans to evolve and grow our business in Brazil to become a market leader in asset management just as we already are in private pension solutions on behalf of 2.5 million Brazilian customers.”
In his role as CEO in Brazil, van Dijk will be instrumental in developing and executing the long-term growth strategy in the country. He will lead and support the business entities operating in market, which include Claritas, Brasilprev, and Ciclic (a fully digital insurance brokerage platform Principal jointly owns), to increase awareness for the firm’s full range of pension solutions and asset management capabilities.
Van Dijk has been actively involved in more than 10 industry associations during his career, including serving as president of the Brazilian Association of Financial and Capital Market Entities and a board director for the São Paulo Stock Exchange. He will report to Roberto Walker, president of Principal Latin America, and Pat Halter, CEO of Principal Global Investors®, the asset management business for Principal.
Principal has operated in Brazil since 1999 when it formed a joint venture with Banco do Brasil – Brasilprev – and currently serves as the No. 1 provider in open private pensions (PGBL and VGBL plans) in the market. In 2012, Principal expanded its focus in Brazil to include asset management by purchasing majority ownership of Claritas Investimentos, which is now wholly owned by Principal.
Van Dijk is the second executive leader Principal has added in Brazil this year. Nelson Katz joined from Brasilprev in March 2022 to become chief operating officer in the country.