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Prudential Financial Elevates Deputy to Top In-House Legal Role

July 27, 2020, 8:21 PM

Prudential Financial Inc.'s deputy general counsel and head of external affairs, Ann Kappler, will succeed Timothy Harris as general counsel once he steps down Sept. 1, the company said.

Harris, who has served as legal chief for the financial services and insurance giant since October 2015, will remain with Prudential through the first quarter of 2021 to assist with the transition.

“On behalf of the entire leadership team, we’d like to thank Tim for his meaningful contributions to Prudential and congratulate Ann on her new role,” Prudential Chairman and CEO Charles Lowrey said in a statement. “This smooth transition is a testament to the deep bench of talent and culture of internal mobility that was cultivated under Tim’s leadership.”

Kappler takes over as Prudential and many other major insurance providers are grappling with the financial fallout from a surge in claims spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In May, Prudential said it expected to take a $200 million earnings hit this year due to life insurance claims and related investment losses.

Kappler, a former Supreme Court clerk, has been an appellate litigation partner at Jenner & Block, general counsel at Fannie Mae, and a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr in Washington. There, she worked in the firm’s financial institutions, litigation, and public policies and strategies practice groups.

She joined Prudential in 2009 as chief legal officer for a subsidiary. In her new role, Kappler will become part of Prudential’s executive leadership team and report directly to Lowrey.

Harris, a proponent of increasing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, is a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. He joined Prudential in 1988 and over the next three decades held a variety of leadership roles at the Newark, N.J.-based company, including deputy general counsel and chief legal officer for Prudential’s U.S. businesses.

Bloomberg Law data shows that labor and employment legal giant Seyfarth Shaw has handled roughly 42% of Prudential’s U.S. litigation work within the past five years. In April, Prudential turned to Debevoise & Plimpton to advise on the $1.9 billion sale of its South Korean life insurance business.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com