Principal Financial Group appoints new head of global risk

Julia Lawler to retire after 36 years

Principal Financial Group® today announced Ken McCullum, vice president and chief actuary, will become the next chief risk officer, following the retirement of Julia Lawler, executive vice president and chief risk officer, after 36 years with the company.

McCullum, who will assume the new responsibilities on September 28 and fully transition following Lawler’s departure in early November, has served as the company’s chief actuary the last five years after joining Principal® from Delaware Life Insurance Company. As chief risk officer, he will be responsible for developing and overseeing the enterprise risk strategy and framework, leading internal audit and risk, financial and operational risk, and the corporate actuarial department.

“In addition to Ken’s extensive industry experience and knowledge, he’s spent the last five years with Principal helping to transform our finance capabilities across the organization,” said Dan Houston, chairman, president, and chief executive officer. “His strong financial and risk management acumen, coupled with his investment and product background, positions him well to understand the complexity of risk in our organization.”

Lawler departs after spending 36 years at Principal in several leadership roles, including chief risk officer since 2018 and as a chief investment officer for Principal. She began her career at the company as a commercial real estate representative.

“Julia has helped lead us through some of the most challenging times in our company’s 141-year history while inspiring and developing countless other leaders along the way,” said Houston. “She has remarkable versatility and intelligence – she’s been the right leader, in the right place, at the right time for our organization throughout her career. We appreciate her dedication and we wish her all the best in retirement.”

As a result of these changes, Dwight Soethout, vice president of finance for the Principal General Account, will assume McCullum’s current role of chief actuary for the organization.

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