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Management Strategies

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MetLife Names Steven A. Kandarian as New President and CEO

On May 1 Kandarian, currently MetLife's chief investment officer, will succeed C. Robert Henrikson, who will continue to serve as chairman of the board through 2011.

Steven Kandarian
Steven Kandarian
Effective May 1, Steven A. Kandarian will succeed C. Robert (Rob) Henrikson as president and CEO, according to a MetLife statement. Henrikson who will reach the insurer's mandatory executive retirement age next year, will continue to serve as chairman of the board during a transition period through the end of 2011.

"During his six years at MetLife, Steve has overseen the strengthening and further diversification of MetLife's $450 billion portfolio and made significant contributions to the development and execution of MetLife's strategic initiatives, comments MetLife board lead director Cheryl W. Gris, who headed the board's year-long succession planning activity, according the company statement. "The board undertook an extensive process, which included a review of internal and external candidates, and we're confident that Steve's wealth of experience and industry knowledge make him well suited to serve as MetLife's next CEO."

Kandarian commented that he was honored to be chosen to lead MetLife at what he called "an exciting time" for the company. "Under Rob's leadership, MetLife has not only weathered one of the most challenging economic periods in history, but has emerged with enhanced operational and financial strength, and a greatly expanded platform for capitalizing on life, annuity and retirement market opportunities around the world," Kandarian said. "We are proceeding on plan with the integration of Alico while maintaining our focus on disciplined growth, margin improvement and return on equity expansion. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Rob, the entire management team and our exceptionally talented and dedicated employees and distribution partners."

Kandarian, 59, joined MetLife as the company's chief investment officer in April 2005. In that capacity, according to the MetLife statement, he has enhanced the company's focus on effective risk management and diversified its investment portfolio, in part through the $5.4 billion sale of Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town in 2006. Under Kandarian's leadership, MetLife identified the housing bubble early and reduced the company's exposure to sub-prime mortgage-backed securities, raised the overall quality of its corporate credit portfolio and increased its focus on low loan-to-value commercial and agricultural mortgages, the insurer statement asserts.

In 2007, he Kandarian a comprehensive review of MetLife's strategic initiatives, which resulted in the identification of key areas of focus for MetLife to achieve revenue growth and expense savings, according to the insurer. In 2009, Kandarian assumed responsibility for MetLife's global brand and marketing services department.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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