Following the announcement on April 24 of this year that Horace Mann Educators (HMN 0.33%) had brought on Marita Zuraitis as president and CEO-elect, Horace Mann has made Zuraitis' appointment official, the company said in a statement today.

The removal of Zuraitis' "elect" status comes after what Horace Mann called, "a successful four-month transition period," in which out-going president and CEO Peter Heckman worked with Zuraitis. Heckman, who has also resigned his board seat, will be available to Horace Mann until the end of 2013 on a consultant basis, according to the company.

Responding to today's official announcement, Zuraitis said, "My four-month transition working with Pete has been invaluable and validated my initial assessment of Horace Mann as a financially strong company with dedicated agents and employees focused on serving the educator marketplace."

Prior to being named president and CEO-elect of Horace Mann, and now its permanent chief executive, Zuraitis spent the last nine years as an executive with The Hanover Insurance Group, including serving as president of Hanover's Property and Casualty units, as well as serving on its executive leadership team.