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MetLife Debuts Reorganization and New Leadership Team

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A northeastern-based life insurer has unveiled an internal reorganization and several new executive appointments.

MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), New York, has announced that it is reorganizing its business from a U.S. and International business structure into three broad geographic regions to better reflect the company’s global reach.

MetLife significantly grew its global footprint in 2010 through the $16.4 billion acquisition of Alico. The three new business regions, each of which will have its own president, are the Americas, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), and Asia.

“To reach its full potential, MetLife needs an organizational structure that leverages the best of both MetLife and Alico,” says MetLife President, CEO and Chairman-elect Steven Kandarian. “This structure will lay the foundation for a global company. Each of our new regions have both mature and developing markets, both of which are critical to shareholder-value creation. At the same time, we will be able to draw on strengths from across each region to drive collaboration and efficiencies.”

In tandem with the reorganization, MetLife says it has appointed William Wheeler as president  of the Americas division and Michel Khalaf as president of the EMEA division and a member of MetLife’s executive group. The company adds that the Asia region will report to Kandarian while a search is underway for a new Asia division president.

With the integration of Alico close to completion and due to the reconfiguration of the company’s structure, William J. Toppeta, who served as president of the company’s International business, has announced his plans to retire. Toppeta will remain with MetLife in the newly created position of vice chair, EMEA/Asia, through May 31, 2012, reporting to Kandarian, the company says.

In this role, Toppeta will serve as a mentor and consultant to the presidents of EMEA and Asia. In addition, he will serve as MetLife’s ambassador in EMEA and Asia to external constituencies on major regulatory and legislative issues that may impact the company’s business, MetLife says.

MetLife has also disclosed that it is creating a new global employee benefits business unit, headed by Executive Vice President Maria Morris, who will continue as a member of the company’s executive group and report to Kandarian. Morris has led, and will continue to oversee until mid-2012, the Alico integration, MetLife says.

MetLife says it is also conducting a search for a new chief financial officer. The interim CFO is Executive Vice President Eric Steigerwalt.