David N. Levenson (June 30, 2010)

The Hartford's executive who was promised a bonus of as much as $2 million if he stayed through the end of February 2013 — even if the company cut him loose sooner — has been given notice of his last day of work, and he will get three-fourths of that money.

The Asylum Hill-based insurer "notified named executive officer David N. Levenson that his employment with the company would terminate on Sept. 28, 2012," the company said in a regulatory filing Thursday.

As a result, he will get $1.5 million of the possible $2 million, according to federal filings.

"With the company's continued progress in executing the sharper-focus strategy, it is an appropriate time for Dave to pursue his next opportunity," said company spokesman Thomas Hambrick. "We thank Dave for his leadership these past several months as well as his significant contributions and service throughout his 17 years at the company.‬"

When The Hartford Financial Services Group announced in March that it would break apart its life insurance operations, Levenson, the head of that division, was offered up to $2 million in a bonus to stay through February 2013. His "retention pay" allowed him a bonus of $500,000 to stay through June 30, an additional $1 million to stay through the end of September, and the remaining $500,000 if he stayed through February.

As executive vice president and president of the company's Wealth Management division, which includes life insurance, Levenson was charged with selling off parts of The Hartford's business as it focuses on more profitable segments with the hope of improving shareholder value.

The Hartford is focusing on property-casualty, group benefits and mutual funds, all of which are more profitable segments and less volatile lines of business.

Retention bonuses are not uncommon for companies that want to hold onto executives during a transitional period, such as dismantling a business or bankruptcy.

Levenson's departure may be a signal that his departing tasks are nearly complete.

For example, The Hartford announced earlier this summer the sale of its Woodbury Financial Services brokerage to American International Group for $115 million. The Hartford promoted Beth Bombara to oversee the discontinuation over time of its legacy annuity business. And speculative articles have been published in the past week and a half about the sale of other businesses: the trade publication 401kWire.com cited "industry sources" in saying The Hartford's defined-contribution record keeping business is in the final stages of a sale; and, Reuters reported last week that Prudential Financial Inc. is a top bidder for The Hartford's individual life insurance business worth about $1 billion.

Levenson has been with The Hartford since 1995, joining the company from Fidelity Investments. He headed the development of the company's mutual fund operations and ran the business of retirement plans before heading up retail products. In 2005, he became managing director of sales and marketing for Hartford Investment Management Company, HIMCO.

The bonus is separate from Levenson's annual pay. In 2010, Levenson was compensated $3.2 million, not including $1.3 million in stock awards that vest later based on the company's financial performance.

Between 2006 and 2009, Levenson was with Hartford Life Insurance K.K., the company's Japan subsidiary. He started there as head of product and distribution, then became president and CEO. He came back from Japan in the summer of 2009 to become executive vice president of the company's "in-force domestic" variable annuity business — which suffered dramatically during the recession — and its international and institutional business segments.

The Hartford's CEO Liam E. McGee restructured the company in April 2010, creating three divisions: Wealth Management, Consumer Markets and Commercial Markets. Levenson was appointed to head Wealth Management in July 2010 when the former president of Hartford Life, John C. Walters, left to "pursue other opportunities."

Levenson holds a bachelor's degree in business from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a master's in business administration from Columbia University.