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Management Strategies

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Northwestern Mutual Names John E. Schlifske Chairman and CEO

Current company president John E. Schlifske will succeed Ed Zore as CEO on July 1 and chairman as of Aug. 1. Gary Poliner will take on Schlifske's former role of president, and has also been named chief risk officer by Northwestern Mutual's board of trustees.

The board of trustees of Northwestern Mutual (Milwaukee) has elected John E. Schlifske chairman and CEO. Currently president, Schlifske will assume the role of CEO on July 1 and chairman on Aug. 1, upon the retirement of Edward J. Zore, the carrier's current chairman and CEO, according to a statement from Northwestern Mutual.

“It’s an honor to follow in the footsteps of so many dedicated leaders who have built this company,” comments Schlifske. “Ed Zore will be leaving Northwestern Mutual in an exceptionally strong position, after significantly growing the business and guiding our organization through the worst economic meltdown of our lives. That speaks to his leadership and the strength and stability of Northwestern Mutual.” Zore, who has been CEO since 2001, will continue to serve on the board after his retirement, according to the insurer's statement. “John Schlifske is a great leader and has the vision to make Northwestern Mutual even stronger,” Zore said. “He brings to the role a keen understanding of our business and the passion to do what’s right for our policyowners and clients.”

Schlifske joined Northwestern Mutual in 1987 as an investment specialist and began to hold positions of increasing authority in the securities and real estate departments, the insurer's statement reports. He then led the Northwestern Mutual investment products and services business as executive vice president from 2004 – 2008 before serving as president and CEO of Northwestern Mutual subsidiary Russell Investments from 2008 – 2009. He was appointed Northwestern Mutual president in 2009.

The Northwestern Mutual board also named Gary A. “Skip” Poliner, 56, president and chief risk officer, effective August 1. Poliner is currently executive vice president, chief risk officer and a member of the company’s board of trustees. He will report to Schlifske.

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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