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An ex-Voya chief, Maliz Beams, exits State Department after three months

Hopes she would gel better with Rex Tillerson than she did with Voya Financial chief Rodney O. Martin Jr. were quickly dashed

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 – 2:20 PM by RIABiz
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Maliz Beams keeps a low profile amid a series of high profile jobs.

Brooke's Note: We point out in this article that one obvious aspect of Maliz Beams is that she is a Fortune 500-style business woman. Hence she might, in theory, have been a good match for working with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Maybe that's why she was hired to this position. But there might be another reason. Beams has a Wall Street kind of background where you do a job and then leave without ever saying a word. Mission accomplished. Beams is gone before most people realized she was even there. For Tillerson, Beams ability to follow orders may have been every bit as important as her professed ability to lead.

Maliz Beams has now exited her second big position in three years -- with neither departure explained.

The former head of Voya Financial Retirement Services stepped down from a top posting in Rex Tillerson's State Department after only three months on the job. She had been named the senior U.S. official in charge of leading the Trump administration’s ambitious overhaul of the State Department, according to BuzzFeed News, which broke the story Nov. 27.

Beams is the third person to step in -- and out -- of the counselor to the U.S. Dept. of State role since the start of the Trump administration last January. Buzzfeed reported that "the relationship between Beams and Tillerson was strained by strong differences over the redesign plan itself and the parameters for implementing it, according to individuals familiar with the matter.

A State Department source close to RIABiz said: "Off the record - I heard she wanted to top brass to listen more to employee concerns and was rebuffed." The source adds that Beams came and went so fast that he only became aware of her after she was gone.

It is well-reported that Tillerson has clashed with virtually everyone for his determination to "overhaul" the State Department by leaving hundreds of positions unfilled and placing little value on the experience of its tenured staff.

Observers presumed that the gravitas of Beams as a fellow buttoned-down, private enterprise executive might serve as the right counterweight for the preternatural self-assuredness of the former Exxon CEO.

Beams served as CEO of Voya Financial Retirement Services from 2011 to 2014, at which time New York-based Voya Financial chairman and CEO Rodney O. Martin Jr. replaced her with himself. See: What's behind the sudden exit of Voya's top 401(k) exec, Maliz Beams, and her replacement by the firm's CEO, Rod Martin. Though she enjoyed a good reputation in the 401(k) business, the folding of her duties into another position raised the question of how valuable she was.

In late 2016, Mark Casady, himself freshly out the door as CEO of LPL Financial, installed Beams on the advisory board of his newly formed VC, Vestigo Ventures in Cambridge, Mass. See: Mark Casady quietly became co-founder of venture capital firm and, pre-post-LPL, it's making noise

Back in July, another high-profile industry exec, Anthony Scaramucci, famously made a 10-day roundtrip from the private to public sector and back again -- from being part owner of SkyBridge Capital to White House communications director to -- when last spotted -- entrepreneur and tweeter at large. See: The art of the leveraged deal: Borrowing against the patience of a Chinese buyer, 41,000 FAs and the White House ethics office, Scaramucci scores 10 days of fame and runway to do more deals.

Beams' resignation is effective immediately and she is now "returning to her home in Boston,” according to a State Department spokesman.

Tom M.

Tom M.

September 22, 2014 — 4:48 PM

I wonder if Ken Fisher knows about Washington state’s estate tax?

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