Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company says Eileen McDonnell, the current president of the company, will succeed Robert Chapell as chief executive officer (CEO) Feb. 18, 2011.

McDonnell began working for Penn Mutual, Horsham, Pa., in February 2008 as executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

McDonnell previously was president of New England Financial, a unit of MetLife Inc., New York (NYSE:MET).

McDonnell has a bachelor’s degree from Molloy College in Rockville Centre, N.Y. She also has a master’s degree in business from Adelphi University.

Chappell has been CEO of Penn Mutual for 16 years. He will continue to be chairman of the 163-year-old company after stepping down from his current post, the company says.

- Trevor Thomas and Warren S. Hersch