Principal Names Nikko’s Pickerell to Board for Asset Management

Principal Financial Group Inc. named Nikko Asset Management Asia Ltd. Chairman Blair Pickerell to the life insurer’s board.

Pickerell becomes a director effective Aug. 17, Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal said in a statement Tuesday.

Principal joins insurers adding asset managers to their boards as near-record-low interest rates pressure investment income. Aflac Inc. named Thomas Kenny, a former fund manager at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., as a director in February. Unum Group appointed former Fidelity Investments head of asset management Ronald O’Hanley to its board the same month.

“Blair brings a valuable perspective to the board with his work in asset management in large, global organizations,” Larry Zimpleman, Principal’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in the statement.

Principal had about $530 billion in assets under management as of March 31, according to the statement. Tokyo-based Nikko Asset Management oversaw $18.6 trillion yen ($154 billion) as of Dec. 31, according to its website.

Pickerell has been at Nikko since 2010 after leaving as CEO of Morgan Stanley’s investment management unit in Asia, according to the statement. He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, Principal said.

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