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Joseph D. Sargent, president of The Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America, succeeded retiring Arthur V. Ferrara as chief executive officer of the New York-based life insurance and financial services company Jan. 1. Mr. Sargent will remain president of the company, and Mr. Ferrara will continue on the company's board of directors.

In other insurer changes:

Bruce M. Jones named president of Sphere Drake Underwriting Management (Bermuda) Ltd. and head of the group's alternative risk transfer business, succeeding Jonathan J. Crawley, who is retiring and moving to France.

Raymond J. Lester named vp and associate general counsel at Trustmark Insurance Co. in Lake Forest, Ill.

Harvey Swartz named vp-property/casualty division of Century Surety Co. in Columbus, Ohio.

named executive vp and chief operating officer at Ohio Hospital Insurance Co. in Columbus, Ohio.

Arthur C. Pletz named senior vp-underwriting operations for Ranger Insurance Co. in Houston. Mr. Pletz rejoined Ranger after spending one year as vp of Signal Aviation Underwriters.

Norm Amick named executive vp at Century Surety Cos. in Columbus, Ohio.

Donald T. DeCarlo named senior vp and general counsel for Travelers Insurance Co. in Hartford, Conn.

Richard L. Thomas named divisional president of American Home Assurance Co.'s new public entities unit in New York.

Martin Loth, former president and CEO of Jardine Insurance Brokers' Orange County, Calif., operations, now part of Alexander & Alexander Services Inc., joined Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in Irvine, Calif., as executive vp in the property/casualty department. Also, Dee L. Hughes, a former Jardine executive, joined Gallagher as a vp in the property/casualty department.

M. Michael Zuckerman joined Johnson & Higgins of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia as a vp in the health care unit, which provides risk management and insurance services to the health care industry.

Margaret J. Liptay joined Alexander & Alexander Inc. as managing director of its risk management practice for greater New York. Ms. Liptay was formerly managing director at Marsh & McLennan Inc. Also at A&A, David I. Sullivan joined Alexander Reinsurance Intermediaries Inc. as senior vp in Stamford, Conn. Mr. Sullivan was previously senior vp-treaty marketing for Aon Re Worldwide.

Gordon C. Lahey and Scott T. Self named senior vps and Mitchell Young named vp at Willis Faber North America Inc. in New York.

Gary A. Bevers, David R. Koberstein, James D. Wagner, James H. Weber and Kurt A. Willick named vps in the Milwaukee office of Rollins Hudig Hall of Wisconsin Inc.

Leslie Hart named a vp in the Costa Mesa, Calif., branch of Johnson & Higgins.

Ron Amy named chairman and CEO of Alexander Clay & Partners in the United Kingdom, effective Feb. 19. Mr. Amy, formerly with Grand Metropolitan P.L.C., succeeds Brian Kennedy, who left the actuarial and benefit consulting unit of The Alexander Consulting Group Inc. to head up Watson Wyatt Worldwide in Canada.

James A. Hall III, named vp at Pegasus Advisors Inc., an Avon, Conn.-based reinsurance consulting firm. Mr. Hall was formerly president and senior actuary for Aon Re Services Inc.