BOSTON — Stephen L. Brown, the chairman of John Hancock Financial Services, will retire after the May 14 annual shareholders meeting.

David F. D’Alessandro, Hancock’s president and chief executive officer, has been appointed to succeed Mr. Brown, according to a Feb. 5 announcement.

The company also announced Feb. 6 that its John Hancock Funds plans to sell its 401(k) plan record-keeping unit to focus on its mutual fund business. The unit handles retirement accounts totaling about $1.7 billion. The company plans to immediately cut 31 of the unit’s 220 employees.

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