NU Online News Service, Feb. 13, 3:34 p.m. – A major U.S. unit of Allianz A.G., Munich, has named a new chief executive officer.

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, Minneapolis, is promoting Mark Zesbaugh, who is only 37, to CEO.

Robert MacDonald, 59, who has been the CEO since October 1999 and took the title of chairman in December 2001, will continue to be the chairman, the company says.

MacDonald founded Life USA Holdings Inc., Minneapolis, a midsize life insurance company, in 1987. Zesbaugh went to work for Life USA in 1990 and became chief financial officer five years later.

When Allianz acquired Life USA in 1999 and folded it into Allianz Life, MacDonald became chairman of Allianz Life and Zesbaugh CFO.

Allianz Life sales have been strong since MacDonald took over, even when the U.S. economy weakened in 2001, Allianz says.

Zesbaugh, MacDonald’s successor, has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting from the University of St. Thomas.

Zesbaugh will report to Michael Diekmann, head of Allianz operations in North and South America.