Ascensus Overhauls Retirement Sales Leadership to Drive Growth


DRESHER, PAAscensus announced significant changes to its Retirement Sales leadership team, promoting from within to enhance support for advisors and partners and to drive long-term business growth.

Head of Core Retirement, Jason Crane, appointed Anthony Bologna as the new National Sales Director. Bologna, who has been with Ascensus for over 25 years, will lead the retirement sales organization, overseeing both field-based and internal resources.

Bologna began his career at Ascensus in 1998. He was promoted to Division Vice President – Eastern Region in 2014. Known for leveraging data and analytics to drive sales practices, Bologna has significantly contributed to the company’s growth.

Reporting to Bologna will be Lori Zeman, Division Vice President – Western Region; Carolyn Fraser, Head of Internal Sales; and Jeff Simes, who will take over Bologna’s previous role as Division Vice President – Eastern Region.

Simes, who joined Ascensus in 2018 as Regional Vice President – Northeast, has consistently been a top performer. His prior roles at CUNA, The Hartford, and Principal Financial Group have equipped him with over 30 years of sales experience.

Mickie Morley will succeed Simes as Regional Vice President – Northeast, covering Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Morley joined Ascensus in 2019 in internal sales after an 11-year sales career with CUNA and its CPI division.

Additionally, Jim Walker, previously Director of Internal Sales, has taken on the new role of Head of Enablement – Core Retirement. Reporting directly to Crane, Walker will focus on optimizing resource deployment through data and analytics-driven insights. He will also assist with governance and organizational readiness to help evolve the Core Retirement business.

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Russ Winchester will replace Walker and lead the Internal Sales Consultant team under Carolyn Fraser’s organization. Winchester, who joined Ascensus in 2020, has led internal sales teams at Newport, Transamerica, and LPL.

Crane highlighted the talent and leadership strength within Ascensus. “Our ability to make these changes from within recognizes both the talent and leadership strength inherent in our organization,” he said. “These individuals share a common belief in modeling our Core Values, ensuring the wellbeing and growth of our associates, and inspiring our high-performing work culture that balances both personal and professional achievement. I have tremendous confidence in each of these leaders and their ability to build strong relationships and drive results.”

The leadership changes took effect on May 25, 2024.

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