Steven A. Kandarian is president and chief executive officer of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), a leading provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs to 90 million customers worldwide. He became president and CEO on May 1, 2011 and also serves as a member of MetLife’s board of directors. For 2010, MetLife had $52.7 billion in revenue and ranks 46th on the FORTUNE 500®.
Kandarian joined MetLife in April 2005 as executive vice president and chief investment officer. Since 2007, he also had overseen MetLife’s enterprise-wide strategy work, which identified key areas of focus for the company. Specifically, his direction contributed to MetLife’s recent global expansion and led to significant cost savings as well as efforts to address the insurance needs of the underserved U.S. middle market.
As CIO, Kandarian oversaw MetLife’s $450 billion general account portfolio and a number of initiatives that strengthened the portfolio, enhanced the company’s focus on effective risk management and contributed to the bottom line. In particular, under Kandarian’s leadership, MetLife identified the housing bubble early and reduced its exposure to sub-prime mortgage-backed securities, raised the overall quality of its corporate credit portfolio and increased its focus on low loan-to-value commercial and agricultural mortgages.
Prior to joining MetLife, Kandarian was the executive director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) from 2001 to 2004. He made the public case for comprehensive reform of the pension funding rules to put the defined benefit system and the PBGC on a sound financial footing. Under Kandarian’s leadership, the PBGC adopted a new investment policy ensuring that, going forward, its assets be structured to better match liability durations.
Before joining the PBGC, Kandarian was founder and managing partner of Orion Partners, LP. From 1990 to 1993, he served as president and founder of Eagle Capital Holdings, where he formed a private merchant bank to sponsor equity investments in small and mid-sized businesses. From 1984 to 1990, he was managing director of Lee Capital Holdings, a private equity firm based in Boston. Kandarian began his career as an investment banker with Houston-based Rotan Mosle, Inc.
Kandarian is a board member of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. He also is a member of the Economic Club of New York. He received a B.A. from Clark University, a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and a M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
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