O’Connell termination was a ‘non-financial event’
The abrupt dismissal earlier this month of Robert J. O’Connell from his posts as president and chief executive officer of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company was definitely a “non-financial event,” said a Standard & Poor’s rating analyst.
“We were not made privy to any additional information that had not been disclosed,” S&P analyst Kevin Ahern said. “But we have had further discussions with the company, and we have been able to assess that.”
MassMutual, Springfield, Mass., issued a statement on June 2 saying O’Connell’s contract was terminated “due to certain issues, subject to his rights under his employment contract.”
O’Connell had been appointed CEO in January 1998.
Stuart Reese, who had been executive vice president and chief investment officer, replaces O’Connell as CEO and president. James Birle will become non-executive chairman of the board.
MassMutual’s announcement about O’Connell’s firing “speaks for itself, and we have nothing further to add,” said company spokesman Mark DiGiorgio.
O’Connell issued his own statement through a public relations agency noting the strong financial performance of the company during his 7 years as CEO but saying it would be “inappropriate” to comment on the termination.