Sun Life Financial announces New Leadership in Asia

Léo Grépin has been announced as Sun Life Financial’s new President for Asia, following the retirement of current president Claude Accum, who will vacate the position on the final day of 2019. Similarly, Kevin Dougherty has been announced as retiring from his position as President of Sun Life's Canadian operation.

In his new role, Grépin will be responsible for overseeing the fastest growing division of Sun Life Financial’s operations. The role’s responsibilities span across the firm’s life, health and wealth management businesses in the seven Asian markets in which Sun Life operates, which include China, Indonesia and India.

Grépin first joined Sun Life in 2016, where he was the Senior Vice-President of Individual Insurance and Wealth for Sun Life’s Canadian operation. In April 2019, Grépin was appointed as the President for ASEAN, being based out of Hong Kong, according to a report by Moneycontrol.

Prior to joining Sun Life, Grépin was the Department Head for Account Management for Bridgewater Associates, and was a Director for Boston-based consultancy firm McKinsey & Company, whom he was with for over 15 years. Overall, he brings over two decades of experience to his new role.

Accum first joined Sun Life in 1983, and has been part of the firm’s Canadian, American and Asian operations during his tenure. Prior to becoming the President for Asia, Accum was Sun Life’s Executive Vice-President and Chief Risk Officer, responsible for leading the firm’s global risk, actuarial and asset-liability management functions.

Dean Connor, Sun Life Financial’s President & Chief Executive Officer, said of Accum’s retirement that “Under Claude's leadership, Sun Life Asia has gained market share and enhanced the Client experience. On behalf of the Executive Team and Board of Directors, I thank Claude for everything he's accomplished over his career at Sun Life and wish him all the best in his retirement."

Connor further commented on Grépin’s appointment, stating that "Today's announcement speaks to the depth and breadth of our leadership team. Léo has been a driving force in the modernization of our retail business in Canada. I am confident he has the experience, deep understanding and client-focus to lead and build our business in these dynamic Asian markets."

The announcement coincides with the revelation that Sun Life’s Executive Vice-President for Innovation and Partnerships, Kevin Dougherty, will similarly be retiring on the 31st of December of 2019.

Dougherty was responsible for advancing Digital, Data Analytics, and the use of Artificial Intelligence in Sun Life’s operations and business models, and for developing Sun Life’s Digital Health Solutions Group, Insurance Research Lab, and external partnerships in Reinsurance, Fintech, and Healthtech.

He has been with Sun Life for nearly a decade, having previously been the President of Sun Life’s Canadian operation. He was also appointed as a Chairman on the board of Sun Life Global Investments.

Stephane Vigneault, the Vice-President for Sun Life’s Insurance Distribution, Wholesale Channel, said of Dougherty’s departure that “Under Kevin's leadership, Sun Life Canada grew to the number one market positions in Group Benefits and Group Retirement Services and in Individual insurance sales.”

She continued that “During this time, he was instrumental in building successful new lines of business including Sun Life Global Investments, Client Solutions and Defined Benefit Solutions and revitalized our business in Quebec.”

The change in leadership comes during a period of strength for Sun Life, whom have been named to be poised for growth on the back of its growing asset management business and prominent Asian presence, according to a report by Yahoo Finance.

The company currently has USD1 trillion under management, according to the same report, with 14% of its revenue coming from its Asian operations. The company was also recently named as one of the Top 10 prestigious life insurance companies in Vietnam, a market which it first entered in 2013.