Principal Names Chris Littlefield as New General Counsel

December 4, 2019

Karen Shaff to retire after 38 years with the company

DES MOINES, Iowa--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Principal Financial Group® today announced Christopher (Chris) Littlefield (53), former president and CEO of Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance (FGL) Holdings, will join Principal as its new general counsel effective January 13, 2020. After 38 years with the Principal®, current executive vice president, general counsel and secretary Karen Shaff, announced her intentions to retire on July 1, 2020.

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Chris Littlefield (Photo: Business Wire)

Chris Littlefield (Photo: Business Wire)

As executive vice president and general counsel, Littlefield will have responsibility for the law department and report to Dan Houston, chairman, president and CEO. Shaff will serve as an advisor to Littlefield and hold the titles of executive vice president, chief legal officer and secretary until March 1, 2020, when Littlefield will assume the corporate secretary responsibilities along with oversight of government relations, community relations and the Principal Foundation.

“Karen has not only been a great legal advisor for us over the past three decades, but also a trusted partner to four Principal CEOs and our Board of Directors,” said Houston. “Her legal prowess and knowledge have guided us, contributing to our ongoing growth around the world and success in new business opportunities. We greatly appreciate all Karen has done and wish her the very best in retirement.”

Littlefield is an experienced general counsel turned CEO, having held top executive and general management roles for the last 11 years in the insurance industry. Prior to that, he held the role of general counsel at an insurance and global consumer products company.

“Chris brings not only his expertise as a general counsel, but as a CEO and business leader,” added Houston. “His unique experience will provide a welcomed perspective to the team. As part of the executive management group, Chris will help oversee and provide legal solutions to our businesses around the world.”

Littlefield earned his B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona and his law degree from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. He currently resides in Des Moines with his family and will work out of the company’s global headquarters.

Shaff joined Principal in 1982 as an attorney in the law department. She continued to advance through the levels of the law leadership team becoming general counsel in 1999 and the first female executive vice president of the company in 2004. In 2014, she became secretary to the Principal Board of Directors. Shaff’s responsibilities have included oversight of teams in law, ethics and compliance, government relations and community relations.

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Media Contact: Erica Jensen, 515-362-0049,
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Source: Principal Financial Group