TIAA, a leading provider of secure retirements and outcome-focused investment solutions, said Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., intends to retire as president and CEO on March 31, 2021.
Ferguson is rumored to be on President-elect Joe Biden's shortlist for a cabinet position.
The company's board and Mr. Ferguson "believe it is an appropriate time to identify a successor who can own TIAA's strategy for years to come and work with Mr. Ferguson to ensure an effective transition of leadership," TIAA said in a news release.
A board subcommittee is working with a premier executive search firm to identify and evaluate both internal and external candidates to succeed Ferguson, the release said.
"Roger contributed profoundly to TIAA's success over the last 12 years through his vision and strategy for fulfilling our mission of providing lifetime income to millions of people working in higher education, healthcare, government and arts," said Dr. Ronald L. Thompson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. "He also greatly enhanced the capabilities we offer those clients and our company's growth through the acquisitions of Nuveen, our investment manager, and TIAA Bank. My fellow Board members and I are grateful for all Roger has done to position TIAA for success through its next 100 years, and we extend our heartfelt thanks to him as he begins his next stage of life."
"I've spent a lot of time reflecting on what would be best for TIAA and those we serve, not only through this year and next, but for many years to come," Mr. Ferguson said. "As we look ahead to a post-pandemic world, the next steps we take will be critical to our long-term mission. I am absolutely convinced – and the Board agrees – that now is the time to select the next CEO who can continue, enhance and drive our strategy for the next decade and beyond. It's the responsible thing to do for this great company. I am eternally grateful to my colleagues for living our values these past 12 years and for the years to come."
Mr. Ferguson steered TIAA through the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 and moved early at the onset of the pandemic to implement remote work for 17,000 global employees. Through these challenges, TIAA continued to make payments to retirees, as it has without interruption since the company's founding in 1918, while also maintaining strong financial health and investing for long-term growth to ensure ongoing resiliency through all environments.
Under his leadership, TIAA added nearly a million new retirement clients, created innovative guaranteed lifetime income solutions and began offering financial wellness resources that help people navigate their financial lives and improve their outcomes. TIAA was also a leading proponent of the SECURE Act to broaden Americans' access to tax-advantaged retirement accounts and prevent them from outliving their assets.
The company also more than doubled its assets under management to more than $1 trillion to become one of the world's top asset managers, acquiring and integrating Nuveen and other investment affiliates and becoming recognized as a leader in Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance investing.
It rounded out its financial services platform with the purchase of the former EverBank, now TIAA Bank. These acquisitions directly supported TIAA's mission by broadening the capabilities and financial-wellness resources available to clients and also helped diversify the company's sources of revenue.
Mr. Ferguson has also been a passionate advocate and thought leader for not-for-profit higher education, serving on several commissions, including co-chairing the Academy of Arts and Sciences' Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education. And, in keeping with TIAA's rich legacy, he has been a proud champion of inclusion and diversity -- within the company and for people everywhere. He oversaw the launch of TIAA's Business Resource Groups that connect and unite diverse employees for talent development, networking and community outreach and philanthropy as well as serving our clients. He has campaigned prominently for broad access to financial advice and planning resources, pushed corporate boards to become more diverse and published widely on the impact of systemic racism on the economy, health and education.
Mr. Ferguson joined TIAA as President and CEO in 2008, having previously served as head of financial services for Swiss Re and chairman of that global reinsurance company's America Holding Corporation. Prior to Swiss Re, he was Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System, which he joined in 1997. Before that he was a partner at McKinsey & Company, where he worked from 1984 to 1997. Mr. Ferguson began his career in 1981 as an attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell.