Former Voya Financial CEO Maliz Beams Reportedly Appointed @StateDept Counselor

Posted: 10:15 am PT
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We just got word that the State Department has appointed Maliz Beams, the former CEO of Retirement Solutions at Voya Financial as State Department Counselor.

The Counselor of the Department of State is a principal officer who serves the Secretary as a special advisor and consultant on major problems of foreign policy and who provides guidance to the appropriate bureaus with respect to such matters. The Counselor conducts special international negotiations and consultations, and also undertakes special assignments from time to time, as directed by the Secretary.   This position does not require Senate confirmation but is equivalent in rank to an Under Secretary of State.  The most recent appointee to this position was Ambassador Kristie Kenney  who held the highest diplomatic rank of Career Ambassador in the United States Foreign Service and had three previous ambassadorships.

Maliz Beams, formally known as Mary Elizabeth Beams most recently held the title of Chief Executive Officer of Retirement Solutions at Voya Financial (Formerly ING US) from June 2011 to October 15, 2014.  While at Voya, she was named one of The Most Powerful Women in Finance for 2014 by American Banker. The Voya press release in September 2014 says that “the businesses she manages serve approximately 47,000 institutional clients, more than 5 million individual retirement plan investors and over 417,000 fixed annuity customers.”

In March 2017,  the New England Aquarium named Ms. Beams, a longtime board member as its interim president and chief executive.  In April 2017, Cetera Financial Group (Cetera), a network of independent firms supporting the delivery of financial advice through independent advisors, announced that Ms. Beams has been named a member of the Board of Directors of its parent company, Aretec Group, Inc. (Aretec). The Cetera PR release includes the following:

Most recently, she served as the Chief Executive Officer of Voya Financial Retirement Solutions from 2011 to 2015, where she successfully aligned the strategies and operations of twelve separately-managed units of the company to reinvigorate Voya’s retirement business in preparation for its IPO in 2013. Prior to her time at Voya Financial, Ms. Beams was the President and Chief Executive Officer of TIAA-CREF Individual and Institutional Services, LLC. She has also held senior leadership roles at Zurich Scudder Investments and Fleet Investment Advisors. Early in her career, she held leadership positions with American Express and Citibank.

According to a 2012 profile, Ms. Beams grew up in Boston and earned a B.A. in English and Philosophy from Boston College in 1978. She studied strategic planning at Harvard, and attended Columbia University where she received an M.B.A. in marketing and finance.  She had her start in financial services in the mid- 1980s at Citibank. Her previous employment includes American Express, Fleet Financial (now Bank of America), and Scudder Investments (later acquired by Zurich Financial), and where she was made president of global business development with responsibility for Scudder’s international business in 1997. Prior to Voya, she was also president and CEO of TIAA-CREF’s Individual and Institutional Services, LLC.

Here is a little bit about the Counselor position via

The Secretary of State created the position of Counselor for the Department of State in 1909 as part of a general Department reorganization. In 1912, the position became a Presidential appointment (37 Stat. 372). Between 1913 and 1919, the Counselor served as the Department’s second-ranking officer, assuming the role previously exercised by the Assistant Secretary of State. In 1919., the newly-created position of Under Secretary of State subsumed the duties of the Counselor. An Act of Congress, May 18, 1937, re-established the position of Counselor of the Department of State (50 Stat. 169). Between 1961 and 1965, the Counselor also served as the Chairman of the Policy Planning Council. The Counselor, who currently under law holds rank equivalent to an Under Secretary of State (P.L. 98-164; 97 Stat. 1017), serves as an adviser to the Secretary of State. The Counselor’s specific responsibilities have varied over time. This list does not include a Counselor for the Department of State appointed by the Secretary of State in 1909. On April 30, 1994 the title was changed to Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs.

Other previous appointees to this position are as follows:


@StateDept Corrections Over Tillerson’s Afghanistan Remarks Get an Easy “F”

Posted: 10:07 am PT
Updated: 7:00 pm PT
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The published corrections actually need corrections:

Tillerson: Our Afghan ambassador [1] is remaining on the job at this time.
[1] State Dept Correction: The U.S. ambassador to Pakistan remains in position.

Let’s help with the correction: In the absence of a Senate-confirmed Ambassador to Afghanistan, Special Chargé d’Affaires to Afghanistan is Ambassador Hugo Llorens; he remains on the job.  The most recent Senate-confirmed COM was P. Michael McKinley; he departed post in December 2016. Afghanistan and Pakistan are two different countries.

“Our Afghan ambassador”  –  The U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan is not the “Afghan Ambassador.” Any “Afghan Ambassador” is an Afghan who represents Afghanistan and holds office at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan either in Washington, D.C. or at whatever country he is accredited to. While “Afghanistan Ambassador” is not wrong, there’s really no usefully correct way of abbreviating “U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan,” or, for that matter, any country.  It is way too easy to cause confusion, not just in the title, but whom the Ambassador represents.  A “U.S. Ambassador” to anywhere is an American who represents the United States. The “Afghan Ambassador” is not.

Tillerson: We have a Pakistan ambassador [2] that’s been nominated; we hope to have that person cleared through the process soon.
[2] State Dept Correction: A nominee for U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan has been named.

Let’s help with the correction: The current U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan is Ambassador David Hale who was  confirmed as Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on August 5, 2015. As far as we can tell, no nominee has been announced as new ambassador to Pakistan. The current U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass has been nominated to be the next ambassador to Afghanistan.  Afghanistan and Pakistan are two different countries.

Tillerson: And even in the transition in Afghanistan, as Ambassador Hale [3] transitions out, we’ve nominated Ambassador Bass.
[3] Correction: Chargé d’Affaires Ambassador Hugo Llorens remains in position.

Sigh! Special Chargé d’Affaires to Afghanistan Ambassador Hugo Llorens remains in position. Ambassador Llorens was appointed to Kabul in December 2016. Which could mean he will stay on as DCM after Ambassador John Bass is confirmed, or he will transition out when his tour concludes in January if he’s on a 13 month assignment. Ambassador Hale is the chief of mission at the US Embassy in Pakistan. Afghanistan and Pakistan are two different countries. Period.