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February 03, 2022 Principal Financial Group® announces new head of U.S. retirement business

Principal Financial Group® today announced Chris Littlefield, executive vice president, general counsel is named president of Retirement and Income Solutions (RIS) effective April 1. This follows the decision of Renee Schaaf, current president of RIS, to retire after more than 41 years with the company.

Prior to Principal®, Littlefield served as president and CEO of two life insurance and annuity companies – Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Holdings (2014-2018) and Aviva USA Corporation (2009-2013). When he joined Principal in 2020 as general counsel, he was responsible for leading the legal, government relations, and compliance departments. He also served as corporate secretary to the Board of Directors. 

“When we asked Chris to join Principal as general counsel, we were keenly aware of his depth of operational and leadership experience, in addition to his legal expertise, and considered this in our succession planning,” said Dan Houston, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Principal. “Chris has a proven track record of leading large, complex financial organizations and teams. I’m confident he’s the right leader to grow our retirement business, create value across our lines of business, and champion digital transformation for the benefit of our plan sponsors and participants.”

In Littlefield’s new role, he will be responsible for leading the retirement business at Principal, serving the retirement savings and income needs of over 40,000 employers and 10 million individual customers. Together with his leadership team, he will focus on continuing to advance the company’s industry leading position in a full spectrum of retirement plan types, along with trust and custody and income solutions. 

Mark Lagomarcino, who previously served as senior vice president and deputy general counsel, will step into the general counsel role as part of Littlefield’s transition. He will also serve as corporate secretary to the Board.

Schaaf departs Principal after serving in key leadership roles across the organization. Most recently, she led Principal through the transformation of its retirement business with the acquisition and integration of the Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust. This doubled the size of the company’s U.S. retirement footprint, making Principal a top three retirement leader. Prior to RIS, Renee led strategy and business development as chief operating officer for Principal International as well as several other roles across the company’s retirement and previous health insurance division.

“Renee led our retirement business through a period of significant growth, advancing the business to industry-leading market positions,” said Houston. “She helped us build on the success of our retirement business during a time of unprecedented transformation, while helping to support our employees and customers through the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. We wish her all the best in retirement.”


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