Axa Equitable Life Insurance, a subsidiary of Axa Financial, has strengthened its management team by appointing Nick Lane as head of the Retirement Savings division and Rino Piazzolla as head of Human Resources.

According to Axa Equitable, Lane and Piazzolla will become senior executive vice presidents and will report to Mark Pearson, recently named to become chairman and CEO, effective from 11 February. However, the appointments of Lane and Piazzolla are subject to board approval.

Lane will succeed retiring senior executive vice president James Shepherdson, who will become chairman emeritus of Axa Distributors, Axa Equitable’s wholesale broker dealer, and serve as an advisor to Pearson.

Lane’s appointment marks his return to Axa Equitable from the parent company in Paris, where he has served as head of Axa Group Strategy since 2008.

Piazzolla will succeed Jennifer Blevins, who is expected to retire after nine years of service as chief human resources officer.

Lane is expected to join Axa Equitable in February, and Piazzolla is expected to join soon thereafter once he has secured the necessary authorizations.

Pearson said that the strategy includes broadening and deepening focus on the retirement savings business, including the individual annuity business, where the company has an enviable record of innovation.

"At the same time, we are also bringing a renewed strategic focus on our life insurance business, which we expect to be a significant contributor to our growth targets in 2011 and beyond," Pearson said.