Manulife, an international financial services company, has appointed James Gallagher as general counsel, effective immediately. Gallagher has been serving as interim general counsel since Oct. 20.

He succeeds Stephen Sigurdson, who passed away last month. Gallagher becomes a permanent member of the executive committee, and will remain a member of Manulife's global leadership team.

Gallagher has held a variety of legal, compliance, and other business support roles with Manulife in the United States, Canada, and globally over the course of his career. Most recently, he was the EVP, general counsel and chief administrative officer of Manulife's U.S. Division, responsible for John Hancock's legal and compliance operations. As chief administrative officer, he was also responsible for other functions, including John Hancock's government, public and community relations, as well as brand, communications and sports and events marketing.

Before taking on this role in 2012, he served as EVP and global compliance chief for Manulife since 2005. Previously, he served as general counsel to Manulife USA and was president of John Hancock Investment Trust.