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Launer, Lipscomb Join Top MetLife Executive Group

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NU Online News Service, June 17, 2003, 12:27 p.m. EDT – MetLife Inc., New York, says it has changed its executive line-up to “broaden the experience of its leadership team” and create a “strong succession plan for the future.”

The company has tapped Lee Launer, head of real estate investments, to succeed Jerry Clark as chief investment officer, and James Lipscomb, deputy general counsel, to succeed Gary Beller as general counsel.

Launer and Lipscomb will both be executive vice presidents, and both will be members of an executive group that reports to MetLife Chairman Robert Benmosche, MetLife says.

Clark, a vice chairman, has decided to retire after spending 35 years at MetLife and serving as the company’s investment chief for eight years.

Beller, who spent 16 years as general counsel at the American Express Company, New York, before joining MetLife in 1994, is also retiring. Beller, a senior executive vice president, will continue to be responsible for mergers, acquisitions, and government and industry relations until the end of the year.

Launer, the new investment chief, began working for MetLife in 1979, in the investments department. His career at MetLife has included two years in the company’s individual business unit.

Robert Merck, a managing director, will succeed Launer as the new head of real estate investments. Merck has been running the company’s real estate equity investments.

Lipscomb, the new general counsel, joined MetLife in 1972 as an attorney. At one point he was president of the Conning Corp., which at that time was a MetLife subsidiary. He also has been head of corporate planning.

Other MetLife executive changes:

? Judy Weiss, an executive vice president, will take charge of the company’s actuarial, tax, financial risk management and strategic planning departments. She was running the retirement and savings operation in the institutional business unit. She also led the team that created MetLife Bank, and she served as MetLife’s chief actuary while the company was demutualizing.

? Presley Surratt, a senior vice president who has been responsible for national accounts at the institutional unit, will succeed Weiss as head of the retirement operations.

? Ed Reynolds, a senior vice president, will be responsible for the MetLife sales force at the individual business unit. He has been head of the Small Business Center and head of institutional group regional operations.

? Mike Farrell, a senior vice president who has been running MetLife Investors Group, a unit that distributes variable annuities through broker-dealers and wirehouses, will also be responsible for GenAmerica Financial, St. Louis, and other independent distribution channels. Dick Evans, who heads GenAmerica, will report to Farrell, MetLife says.