The guard has changed at Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America. The insurer announced yesterday that it has promoted Gretchen Cepek to the general counsel post.

Cepek, whose promotion went into effect late last month, takes over for former Chief Legal Officer Maureen Phillips, who left the company to pursue other opportunities.

In her new position, Cepek will serve as chief legal advisor for the executive management team, and will supervise litigation, corporate governance, product development, special investigations and government relations for the Minneapolis-based insurer. Cepek will report to Allianz Life’s President and CEO Walter White.

“Gretchen’s extensive legal expertise, knowledge of the company, and work with new products, distribution channels and operations make her ideally suited for the general counsel’s role,” White said in a statement. “Gretchen’s deep experience supervising legal teams and government relations activities will be invaluable as we work to further grow our business and drive sales.”

Cepek came to Allianz Life in 2009 from Woodbury Financial Services, an independent broker/dealer. In her previous role, she oversaw a legal team that managed business operations, product development, distribution, tax and government relations. Before moving in-house, she spent 12 years in the complex commercial litigation practice at Querrey & Harrow.