Eileen C. McDonnell, current president of Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co., has been named as successor to Robert E. Chappell, Penn Mutual’s CEO. The change, announced Thursday, will be effective on February 18, 2011.
Chappell will be retiring after holding the post for 16 years; he will remain as chairman of the board. In a statement, Chappell said of McDonnell, “In less than three years at Penn Mutual, Eileen’s presence as a leader of the company and within our industry has been exemplary. She is a dedicated advocate for the complete value of life insurance for American families, a forward thinker and committed to continuing to build momentum for Penn Mutual in the years ahead.”
A 23-year veteran in financial services, McDonnell joins a small cadre of women who hold CEO positions at major insurers. Formerly she was president of New England Financial, a wholly owned subsidiary of MetLife, and senior vice president at Guardian Life Insurance Co. Previous experience also included a stint at AXA/Equitable and the chair for women and financial services at The American College.
Coming to Penn Mutual in February 2008 as executive vice president and chief marketing officer, and chairman of the board of Hornor, Townsend & Kent, Inc., McDonnell is also a member of the Janney Montgomery Scott LLC board of managers and the board of Pennsylvania Trust. She will retain these posts, as well as her membership on the Penn Mutual board of trustees.
In a statement, McDonnell said, “It is an honor to be named chief executive officer and it has been a tremendous pleasure to work with Bob Chappell. . . . Bob’s keen focus on our business fundamentals—mutuality, financial strength, and the power of relationships—has helped the company grow into one of the most respected in the industry. . . . All of us are all excited about the prospects for our company as we move into the future.”