MetLife Announces Major Restructuring, Hunting for New CFO

MetLife (NYSE:MET) says it is transforming its company into three broad geographic regions from just two to expand its global reach, and giving its chief financial officer a new role.

The insurer's new segments, the Americas, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), and Asia, will each have their own president and will oversee both mature and emerging markets.

MetLife currently has just two divisions: a U.S. and international group.

“To reach its full potential, MetLife needs an organizational structure that leverages the best of both MetLife and Alico,” MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian said in a statement released Monday. “This structure will lay the foundation for a global company.”

MetLife bought rival Alico in 2010 for about $15 billion to accelerate its global growth strategy.

MetLife’s chief financial officer since 2003, William Wheeler, will become the Americas   division’s new president. The company, which has appointed Eric Steigerwalt as interim CFO, is currently searching for Wheeler’s permanent replacement.

The former head of MetLife’s U.S. business, William Mullaney, will leave the company to pursue other opportunities. His position will be eliminated.

Michel Khalaf has been appointed president of EMEA and will become a member of the company’s executive group. He joined the company through the Alico acquisition and served previously as MetLife’s Middle East, Africa and South Asia president.

MetLife is conducting a search for a president of the Asia division. In the meantime, the region is reporting to Kandarian.

William Toppeta, most recently the president of the company’s international business, has announced plans to retire. He will remain with MetLife in the newly created position of vice chair of EMEA and Asia through May 31.

With these changes, MetLife has created a new global employee benefits business unit, headed by executive vice president Maria Morris, who led the Alico integration and in prior roles headed group insurance, retirement and voluntary benefit sales.

Morris will continue to oversee the Alico integration through mid-2012.