Brad Hewitt will retire as chief executive of Thrivent Financial Inc. and will be succeeded by Terry Rasmussen, who becomes the first woman to lead the Minneapolis-based investment services firm.

Hewitt has led Thrivent since 2010, a time when the company significantly broadened its reach beyond its longtime base with clergy and members of Lutheran churches.

"Brad has provided visionary leadership in moving Thrivent forward in its mission of serving the broader Christian community and ensuring the organization has the tools and talent to meet the expectations of our members and position us for long-term growth," Bonnie Raquet, Thrivent's board chairwoman, said in a statement.

Rasmussen has led Thrivent's core fraternal business unit for the last three years.

"Terry has distinguished herself as a strong leader with extraordinary business and legal acumen, as well as a deep understanding of Thrivent's charter as a fraternal benefit society," Raquet said.

Thrivent in 2014 dropped the "for Lutherans" from its name after its members in 2013 voted to open membership to all Christians. The not-for-profit organization sells insurance, annuities and other financial services.

Even as it broadened its reach, the firm has had to contend with declining participation in mainline church denominations that it aims to serve. Its membership rolls dropped for several years but began climbing again last year.

It had 2.2 million members and $136 billion in assets under management at the end of 2017. The firm had net income of $517 million on revenue of $8.7 billion in 2017, it said in a report to members earlier this year.

Rasmussen joined Thrivent in 2005 as senior vice president, general counsel and secretary. She became president in 2015. She previously worked in legal posts at American Express and Ameriprise Financial.

Rasmussen is on the boards of the Walker Art Center and InFaith Community Foundation. She is past chairwoman of the American Fraternal Alliance, the trade association for fraternal benefit societies; and Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota.

Hewitt joined Thrivent in 2003 as chief fraternal officer, became chief operating officer in 2008 and CEO two years later.