NEW YORK — MetLife has named Michel Khalaf, president, U.S. Business and EMEA, will become MetLife’s president and chief executive officer on May 1, 2019. Khalaf also has been appointed to the MetLife board effective May 1.
Steven Kandarian, who is retiring, will continue to serve as chairman, president and CEO through April 30, 2019. Glenn Hubbard, currently MetLife’s independent lead director, will become MetLife’s non-executive chairman upon Kandarian’s retirement. Hubbard joined the MetLife board in 2007 and became lead director in June 2017. Since 2004, Hubbard has been the Dean and Russell L. Carson Professor of Economics and Finance at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, and from 2001 to 2003, he was chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.
“In Michel, we are fortunate to have a leader who has excelled across a wide range of markets, businesses and cultures,” Hubbard said. “His vision to make MetLife one of the most dynamic, entrepreneurial and financially successful insurance companies in the world will serve all of the company’s stakeholders well.”
“Steve Kandarian has been a strong and effective leader for MetLife,” Hubbard added. “He made bold decisions to challenge MetLife’s SIFI designation and spin off the company’s U.S. retail business. His courage, conviction and strategic focus were essential to position the company for profitable growth. We look forward to continuing to work with Steve through the transition.”
“Michel has brought deep knowledge of our industry, an entrepreneurial spirit, and strong leadership skills to each of the roles he has held during his successful career in the life insurance industry,” Kandarian said. “The financial services landscape continues to evolve rapidly, and Michel is the right executive to continue to lead MetLife’s transformation into a company that is continually innovating to meet customer expectations and create significant shareholder value.”
Michel Khalaf said, “I am deeply honored by the confidence that the board has placed in me and excited to lead this great company. MetLife has a tremendous opportunity to increase the value it creates for all of its stakeholders. By accelerating revenue growth, further optimizing our portfolio, and strengthening expense discipline, we will become a more financially successful company. This will help us meet our obligations to customers, create more opportunities for employees, and deliver stronger returns to shareholders.”
Khalaf has been MetLife’s president of EMEA since 2011 and in July 2017 added responsibility for the company’s U.S. Business. In his expanded role, he has overseen the Group Benefits, Retirement & Income Solutions, and Property & Casualty businesses in the United States; Global Employee Benefits (GEB), MetLife’s only horizontal business providing employee benefits solutions to local and multinational employers in 39 markets; and individual and group insurance businesses sold through agents, brokers, banks and direct channels in more than 25 countries throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Prior to taking on the leadership of EMEA, Khalaf was executive vice president and CEO of MetLife’s Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. He joined MetLife through its acquisition of American Life Insurance Company (Alico) from American International Group (AIG) in 2010.
In his 21 years at Alico, Khalaf held a number of leadership roles in various markets around the world including the Caribbean, France and Italy. In 1996, he was named the first general manager of Alico’s operation in Egypt. In 2001, he assumed the position of regional senior vice president in charge of Alico’s Life, Pension and Mutual Fund operation in Poland, Romania and the Baltics, as well as president and CEO of Amplico Life, Alico’s life insurance subsidiary in Poland. Later, he served as deputy president and chief operating officer of Philamlife, AIG’s operating company in the Philippines.
Khalaf is a graduate of Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering and a Master of Business Administration in finance. He is a fellow of the Life Management Institute.