10 Things You Didn’t Know about Voya Financial CEO Rodney O. Martin, Jr.

Rodney O. Martin, Jr. is the head of Voya Financial, which is a corporation that specializes in insurance and other financial services. He is an interesting example of someone who has managed to lead a spinoff to success. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Rodney O. Martin, Jr.:

1. Went to Alfred University

Education-wise, Martin went to Alfred University, which is a school that can be found in a village of the same name situated in the state of New York. Generally speaking, it is believed that both the school and the village are named for King Alfred of the Anglo-Saxons, who is one of two rulers of England to receive the epithet “the Great.” However, there are insufficient records to support this belief.

2. Studied Business Administration

Subject-wise, Martin studied business administration. Generally speaking, most people are most familiar with the study of business administration because of MBA programs, which are graduate-level programs. However, there are undergraduate-level programs that can be found out there as well, which is what Martin went into at Alfred University.

3. Started Out in Insurance

Upon graduation, Martin got started in the field of insurance. To be exact, he started out as an insurance agent at Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company. However, Martin proceeded to rise through the ranks over time, with the result that he winded up becoming the president of Connecticut Mutual Insurance Services before heading elsewhere.

4. Has a Lot of Executive Experience

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Martin has had a lot of executive experience at a lot of places. For instance, he was the CEO as well as the President of American General Life Companies at one point in time. Furthermore, he was the COO of AIG Worldwide Life Insurance, which happened after American General Life Companies was bought out by AIG.

5. Chosen By ING Group to Serve As Head of New Spinoff

In 2013, Martin was the one who was chosen by ING Group to serve as the head of the new spinoff Voya Financial. As such, he collaborated with ING Group leadership to ensure a smooth transition, which was a process that came with a lot of complications.

6. Oversaw Accounting Change

For example, ING Group is based in the Netherlands, while Voya Financial is based in New York City, NY. As such, ING Group uses IFRS accounting, whereas the spinning off of Voya Financial meant that it had to make some serious changes to its accounting processes because of the need for compliance with U.S. regulation on the matter. Suffice to say that this can be a rather complicated process because the different ways that accounting is performed under different rules can produce very different results indeed.

7. Oversaw the Filings in Various Jurisdictions

Another example of a challenge was the filings that had to be made in the various states that make sure that Voya Financial’s operations would be legal. In some cases, this meant legal filings with the insurance regulators in various states. However, other cases consisted of product filings for the actual insurance products.

8. Put a Huge Emphasis on Transparency

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Martin put a huge emphasis on transparency throughout this entire time. After all, the spinoff had both internal and external stakeholders who need to be satisfied during a period of considerable upheaval, meaning that it made perfect sense for its leadership to be upfront about what was happening in order to maintain their trust. However, Martin has made it clear that he believes in a high degree of transparency under normal circumstances as well.

9. Says that the Spinning Off Enabled Voya Financial to Become More Responsive

It is interesting to note that Martin has said that the spinning off enabled Voya Financial to become more responsive. Essentially, the process enabled its leadership to redesign a lot of its systems for increased efficiency as well as increased innovativeness, thus making it that much lighter on its metaphorical feet.

10. Sees Other CEOs As Sources of Advice

Martin isn’t shy about seeking out sources of advice as needed. One example would be other CEOs, who he believes can provide useful guidance from an outsider’s perspective.

References:  Voya, Bloomberg, Chief Executive


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