A giant mutual insurer has created an office of the chief operating officer.

New York Life Insurance Company, New York, has named Theodore Mathas, 39, vice chairman of the board and chief operating officer.

Mathas, who has been an executive vice president at the company and co-head of life and annuity operations since January 2004, will oversee retirement income operations as well as life and annuity operations.

New York Life also has promoted Phillip Hildebrand, 53, who has been chief distribution officer for life and annuity, to vice chairman, and Gary Wendlandt, 55, who has been the executive vice president in charge of the New York Life Investment Management L.L.C. unit, to senior executive vice president for investment and finance.

Hildebrand and Wendlandt will serve with Mathas in the new office of the COO.

Hildebrand will oversee agency distribution, special markets, and life and annuity administration.

Wendlandt will continue to be chairman of NYLIM and will oversee the parent company’s investment and financial operations.

Brian Murdock, 50, who has been president of NYLIM, will succeed Wendlandt as chief executive of the unit, according to New York Life.

Mathas has a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a law degree from the University of Virginia.

Hildebrand attended Northern Arizona University and holds the Chartered Life Underwriter professional designation.

Wendlandt has a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and computer science from Washington University in St. Louis. He is an executive board member of the National Boy Scouts of America.

Murdock has a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.