Eileen McDonnell, president of the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co., has also been named the company’s chief executive officer.

McDonnell joined Penn Mutual in February 2008 as executive vice president and chief marketing officer. She has previously served as president of New England Financial and senior vice president at Guardian Life Insurance Co. She is also a past faculty member of The American College, where she held the Chair for Women and Financial Services.

“Penn Mutual has a rich legacy that continues to guide our work as a company,” McDonnell said, “I believe the decade ahead is full of opportunity for us, and we are extremely well positioned to build on the positive momentum we’ve created over the past several years.”

McDonnell’s appointment comes on the heels of a record 2010 for the company, which saw its life insurance sales increase 47% over 2009. She succeeds Robert E. Chappell, who will remain chairman of the company’s board.