Bruce Nicholson, the CEO, chairman and president of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans announced today that he plans to retire before the end of 2010.
Nicholson, 62, has served as CEO of the Minneapolis-based Fortune 500 financial services organization since 2000. Company officials said his departure was expected, as Nicholson had informed the company several years ago that he planned to retire in his mid-60s.
The exact date of Nicholson's departure has not yet been determined, but the company's board of directors has formed a search committee to look for a replacement.
Nicholson oversaw the large-scale merger between Lutheran Brotherhood and Aid Association for Lutherans in 2002. The fraternal benefit societies came together to form Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.
Since the merger, Thrivent Financial and its approximately 2.6 million members have contributed more than $1 billion to charitable organizations and individuals in need.
"It is a privilege to serve our members and to lead Thrivent Financial for Lutherans," Nicholson said in a statement. "Thrivent Financial has a bright future, and I am looking forward to working with my successor in making a smooth transition.
"I want to do everything I can to help us reach our goal of becoming the financial services provider of choice for Lutherans nationwide, while maintaining our ongoing commitment to our values of faith, family, stewardship, and service."
Like other financial services companies, Thrivent Financial suffered negative effects of the economic recession. Last year, the organization reported that assets under management dropped by about 15 percent, to $61.9 billion, due to "severe market volatility."
Despite the loss, the company did not apply for federal bailout money. Thrivent Financial's 2008 member report emphasizes that the company has a $4.3 billion surplus and paid out $320 million in dividends over the past year.
"Under Bruce's leadership, Thrivent Financial has successfully completed its merger integration and built a strong and stable financial services organization," said Kurt Senske, vice chairman of Thrivent's board of directors. "Despite the recent economic turmoil in the United States, Thrivent Financial remains financially strong and Bruce has positioned Thrivent Financial for continued success."