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ING Says U.S. Chief Operating Officer Robert Leary Leaves Firm

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Sept. 12 (Bloomberg) -- ING Groep NV, the largest Dutch financial-services firm, said U.S. Chief Operating Officer Robert Leary has left the firm amid efforts to separate the company from its North American businesses.

Leary will be replaced as COO by Alain Karaoglan, most recently a finance and strategy executive, Dana Ripley, a spokesman for the Amsterdam-based bank, said in a phone interview. Rodney Martin, chief executive officer of U.S. operations, and finance chief Ewout Steenbergen will remain with the firm, which offers retirement, investment management and insurance products in the world’s largest economy, Ripley said.

ING agreed to separate the U.S. and European insurance businesses from its banking units by the end of 2013 to gain European Commission approval for a government bailout. The firm reached agreements to sell its U.S. and Canadian online banks this year and are considering an initial public offering for the U.S. unit, Ripley said.

ING’s U.S. businesses serve about 13 million customers, according to its website, and had $453 billion in assets under management and administration as of June 30, Ripley said.

Reuters reported Leary’s departure yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dakin Campbell in San Francisco at dcampbell27@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net.

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