New year, new faces
The New Year started with a raft of new hires and promotions in the employee benefits space.

The Segal Group announced that it acquired Touchstone Consulting and Ascension revealed its plans to rebrand as Relations Insurance Services. Relations now has a new president of employee benefits to start the year.

It was a month for hiring not one but two new senior staffers. American Specialty Health added a pair of lawyers to its legal counsel team while two new faces from Blue Cross Blue Shield joined benefits consultancy SS Nesbit to help build its business in the southern region. Hodges-Mace also hired a pair of new staffers: a senior vice president of strategic partnerships and a senior vice president of sales.
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The Segal Group acquires Touchstone Consulting
On Jan. 1, The Segal Group announced that it had acquired The Touchstone Consulting Group, an employee benefits consultancy based in Worcester, Mass. Touchstone is now part of Sibson Consulting, the division of The Segal Group that provides human resources and benefits advice to corporations, higher education institutions and nonprofits. “Our strengths are complementary and this transaction is an excellent opportunity to augment our talent and resources,” says David Blumenstein (pictured), president and CEO of Segal. David Peck, Touchstone’s president, now serves as vice president and retirement consultant for Sibson.
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Bridges joins ASH as legal counsel
American Specialty Health Inc. has appointed Lance Bridges as chief legal officer and general counsel with responsibilities for overall legal affairs. Bridges has more than 25 years of experience developing practical legal solutions to advance strategic corporate interests while mitigating associated business risks. He started his career at Cooley LLP in 1991 and he became a partner in 1996. He was also general counsel for Entropic Communications, where he built its legal department.
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Hodges-Mace names Ehrle to SVP, strategic partnerships
Benefit management software and service provider Hodges-Mace has promoted Mike Ehrle to the role of SVP of strategic partnerships. In his new position, Ehrle is responsible for deepening corporate ties with national brokers, technology consultants, HCM/payroll companies, medical and group carriers, private-equity firms, and other key players in the Hodges-Mace ecosystem. He reports directly to Co-CEO, Greg Hodges. Ehrle was SVP of sales for two years at Hodges-Mace where he expanded the sales team from 14 to 35 people, sold more than 200 new accounts and generated approximately $40 million of new revenue.
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Ferguson leaves Change Healthcare for Hodges-Mace
Hodges-Mace hired Ashley Ferguson as SVP of sales, where she will manage a team of three regional vice presidents, inside sales, as well as the director of sales operations. Ferguson hails from Change Healthcare where she led the eligibility and enrollment sales organization. Prior to this role, she spent 20 years in sales roles at ADP. She reports directly to Greg Hodges, co-CEO of Hodges-Mace.
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Hamby signs up for S.S. Nesbitt
Employee benefits consultancy S.S. Nesbitt has added Mark Hamby as a new producer. He will help the firm diversify and expand in North and Central Alabama as he works from the firm’s Birmingham office. For the past nine years, Hamby has worked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, where he was awarded the most new contracts in sales in the Small Group Account position in 2013.
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ASH lawyers up with Hiley
American Specialty Health has appointed Erin Hiley as vice-president, senior legal counsel. She comes to ASH with more than 13 years of experience in healthcare, employment and general business law. Prior to joining ASH, she founded Hiley Law, with offices in Los Angeles and San Diego. She also spent nearly six years as vice president - assistant general counsel for Molina Healthcare, a multi-state healthcare organization.
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Irvine graduates to Tuition.io as CRO
Tuition.io, maker of a student loan repayment assistance platform, has named Mark Irvine as its newest chief revenue officer. He will work from the company’s San Mateo location. Irvine joins Tuition.io from Enlighted, an IoT solutions company that delivers technology for smart buildings, and was previously at Mojix, an RFID technology company, where he led as senior vice president of global sales As CRO at Tuition.io, he will focus on scaling the business and refining the go-to-market strategy.
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Lopez named president of employee benefits of Relations Insurance Services
Insurer and benefits provider Ascension Insurance has rebranded as Relation Insurance Services at the beginning of the year and has also named Keri Lopez as president of employee benefits. Prior to her promotion, her title at Ascension was president, western region benefits. In her new role, she will build Relation’s employee benefits market presence nationally and facilitate coordination, best practices and thought leadership across all of Ascension’s employee benefits teams. Lopez has 19 years of employee benefits consulting experience.
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Maharajh joins Mercer Marsh Benefits as chief commercial officer
Mercer Marsh Benefits, a partnership between global professional services firms Mercer and Marsh, has appointed Shakuntala Maharajh as global benefits management chief commercial officer. She will be responsible for driving the GBM operating and service delivery model for multinational clients, and will be based in Charlotte, N.C. Prior to joining MMB, Maharajh served at Aon Hewitt for more than 30 years where she held a variety of operational, solution, sales and technology leadership positions. She will work with MMB's International Leaders, John Deegan and Andrew Perry.
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Wagoner boards S.S. Nesbitt
Employee benefits consultancy S.S. Nesbitt has added Brian Wagoner to help the agency diversify and expand in North and Central Alabama. Wagoner joins the Huntsville office as a producer. Before assuming this this role, Wagoner spent 15 years with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama as a district account manager, district sales representative and account executive. In 2013, Wagoner won the Blue Cross President’s Cup for most sales in the company.