MetLife CEO Steve Kandarian leaves

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After eight years in the position
  • Accolades and praise for Kandarian
  • Michel Khalaf taking over
  • Kandarian said 68 words

(exechange) — New York, January 8, 2019 — Steve Kandarian, chief executive of MetLife, leaves. As announced by MetLife Inc. in a news release on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, Steven Albert (Steve) Kandarian leaves his post as chief executive officer at the nation’s second-biggest life insurer after eight years in the role, effective April 30, 2019.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months was 8.7 years, according to data compiled by exechange.

Steve Kandarian’s duties will be taken over by Michel A. Khalaf, currently president, U.S. Business and EMEA of MetLife, Inc.

“Strengthening expense discipline”

A reason for Steve Kandarian’s departure from the CEO post was not explicitly provided. Michel Khalaf said: “By accelerating revenue growth, further optimizing our portfolio, and strengthening expense discipline, we will become a more financially successful company.”

Precise information regarding Steve Kandarian’s future plans was not immediately available.


MetLife said: “Steven A. Kandarian, who is retiring, will continue to serve as chairman, president and CEO through April 30, 2019.”

In the position of CEO since 2011

Steven A. Kandarian is chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of MetLife, Inc., one of the world’s leading financial services companies, which provides insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management to customers in more than 40 countries around the world and holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

He became president and CEO on May 1, 2011, and chairman of the board of directors on January 1, 2012.

For 2017, MetLife had $62 billion in revenue. The company ranked 43rd on the most recent FORTUNE 500®.

Kandarian joined MetLife in April 2005 as executive vice president and chief investment officer (CIO).

From 2007 to 2012, he also led MetLife’s enterprise-wide strategy, which identified key areas of focus for the company.

His direction contributed to MetLife’s global expansion and led to significant cost savings as well as efforts to address the insurance needs of the underserved U.S. middle market.

As CIO, Kandarian oversaw the company’s more than $450 billion general account portfolio and led a number of initiatives that strengthened the portfolio and contributed to MetLife’s bottom line.

He enhanced the company’s focus on effective risk management and diversified MetLife’s 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 its 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.

His efforts helped MetLife emerge from the 2008 credit crisis with the financial strength to complete the company’s $16.4 billion purchase of Alico.

From 2001 to 2004, Kandarian was executive director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

During his tenure, he made the public case for comprehensive reform of the pension funding rules to put the defined benefit system and the PBGC on a sound financial footing, helping to lay the groundwork for the enactment of the Pension Protection Act of 2006.

Previously, Kandarian was founder and managing partner of Orion Partners, LP, a private equity firm based in the Boston area. Earlier he was managing director of Lee Capital Holdings.

He began his career as an investment banker with Houston-based Rotan Mosle, Inc.

Kandarian is a board member of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, the Institute of International Finance, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Exxon Mobil, Neuberger Berman and the Partnership for New York City.

He is a member of the Business Council and the Business Roundtable. Kandarian earned his B.A. from Clark University, J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange gauges the likelihood that a manager was pushed out or felt pressure to leave the position.

exechange reached out to MetLife and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 2.2019 ($).