MetLife Announces Senior Leadership Changes
MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET) today announced a number of changes to its senior leadership team. All changes are effective on January 1, 2021, unless otherwise noted.
Executive Vice President and President of the Latin America region Oscar Schmidt will retire after a distinguished 26-year career with the company. He will step away from his executive position on December 31, 2020, and will stay on through the end of March 2021 to assist with the leadership transition.
“Over the past two and a half decades, Oscar has helped us grow and develop our Latin America business, building a well-diversified portfolio of businesses across the region,” said MetLife President and CEO Michel Khalaf. “Under his strong leadership, we have grown to become the largest life insurer in Latin America – a distinction achieved organically and through a number of acquisitions.”
Succeeding Schmidt as Regional President, Latin America, will be Eric Clurfain, Executive Vice President and Chairman, President and CEO of MetLife Japan K.K., subject to the necessary approvals. He will report to Khalaf.
“With more than two decades of insurance experience, Eric has a proven track record of building high-performing teams and businesses and a deep commitment to our associates and customers,” Khalaf said. “Over the past two years, his intense focus on business execution and customer centricity has driven culture change in Japan and delivered strong results in support of our Next Horizon strategy. Under his leadership, I am confident LatAm will continue to be a growth engine for MetLife.”
Clurfain’s career path has spanned numerous geographies and strategic leadership responsibilities. Prior to his current role, Clurfain was Regional Head for EMEA with oversight over the region’s 25 markets. Previously, he was Regional Head for Central and Eastern Europe after serving as General Manager of MetLife in Turkey. Earlier in his career with AIG/Alico, Clurfain lived and worked in Latin America.
Succeeding Clurfain as Executive Vice President and Chairman, President and CEO of MetLife Japan K.K. will be Dirk Ostijn, Head of EMEA, subject to the necessary approvals. Ostijn will report to Executive Vice President Kishore Ponnavolu, Regional President, Asia.
“Dirk has successfully led our EMEA region through a challenging operating environment,” Khalaf said. “Under his leadership, the EMEA team built strong momentum with a robust pipeline of new business opportunities, a relentless focus on efficiency, and a diversified model spanning more than 25 markets. I know his exemplary leadership, deep insurance expertise, and passion for the customer will be welcomed and appreciated by our team in Japan.”
With more than 30 years of experience, Ostijn’s career encompasses all aspects of the life insurance industry, including product, finance, operations, customer service and technology. He also spent more than a decade managing insurance brokerage operations, served as a General Manager in Belgium and held regional roles such as chief financial officer and head of strategic initiatives.
Succeeding Ostijn as Head of EMEA will be Nuria Garcia, Senior Vice President and Deputy Head of EMEA. She will report to Khalaf.
“Nuria has a strong focus on business development and partnerships as well as a passion for the customer,” Khalaf said. “She is a highly effective leader who can connect internal and external stakeholders to collaborate across business, function and market. Her leadership played an integral role in the region’s continued strong performance, and I have every confidence that she will continue to build on this track record going forward.”
Garcia has more than 20 years of experience in EMEA spanning distribution, marketing, operations and finance, both with MetLife and GE.
“Taken together, these moves demonstrate not only our commitment to talent development and succession planning, but our deep bench of leaders who are ready to step up immediately and deliver value to our customers and shareholders,” Khalaf said.