What You Need to Know
- Howard Mills, a former New York insurance superintendent, has joined Genworth's board.
- Goldman Sachs alum Melina Higgins will take over as chairman of the board.
- Tom McInerney continues to be Genworth's CEO.
The board of Genworth Financial Inc. has picked Melina Higgins — who has deep deal making and finance experience — to succeed James Riepe as the company’s chairman.
The board also added Howard Mills, a former New York state insurance superintendent, and two other independent directors, Genworth announced Thursday.
Tom McInerney will remain Genworth’s president and CEO.
The firm has scheduled its 2021 annual meeting for May 20. All Genworth directors, including the new ones, will be up for re-election at that time.
Genworth is a Richmond, Virginia-based company that was once part of General Electric Co. In 2004, GE turned Genworth into a separate company through an initial public offering.
Once a leader in the U.S. life insurance, annuity and mortgage insurance markets, Genworth also was a dominant player in the U.S. long-term care insurance (LTCI) market. Low interest rates hurt the life, annuity and LTCI operations, and inaccurate assumptions about how consumers would keep and use LTCI policies devastated the LTCI operations.
Today, Genworth is still a major player in the U.S. mortgage insurance market as well as has closed blocks of life insurance policies and annuities on its books. It also has large LTCI obligations on its books and may still be writing some of that coverage.
Genworth tried for years to overcome its problems by being acquired by China Oceanwide Holdings Ltd., a Beijing-based real estate developer and financial services company.
However, the two companies recently put efforts to complete that deal on the back burner, after the COVID-19 pandemic and U.S. and Chinese government conflicts interfered with China Oceanwide’s efforts to complete the deal.
Genworth executives have suggested that the company might move forward by splitting the mortgage insurance operations off from the rest of the company.
The Genworth board named Riepe chairman in 2012, as the magnitude of Genworth’s LTCI problems was becoming clear, and after the resignation of Michael Fraizer, who had been the company’s chairman and CEO.
The board named McInerney CEO in 2013.
Riepe, who is now 77, was an executive at Vanguard and later at T. Rowe Price. He retired from a post as vice chair of T. Rowe Price in 2005, shortly before joining the Genworth board.
Incoming Chairman Higgins worked for Goldman Sachs from 1989 through 2010. When she left, she was a managing director and partner. She helped oversee Goldman Sachs’ private equity and private debt investments.