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New York Life taps DeSanto for CEO-elect role

Thursday, November 18, 2021
Opalesque Industry Update - New York Life, America's largest and most admired mutual life insurer, today announced that the company's Board of Directors has named Craig DeSanto CEO-elect of New York Life. Mr. DeSanto, who is currently the company's president, will succeed Ted Mathas, who has served as CEO for nearly fourteen years. Mr. DeSanto will assume the chief executive position upon the retirement of Mr. Mathas on April 15, 2022. Mr. Mathas will remain chairman of the board in a non-executive capacity for a transition period.

Mr. DeSanto has served as New York Life's president since July 2020 and as a member of the company's Board of Directors since February 2021. He will retain the title of president upon assuming the CEO role.

"Craig is a proven leader with the knowledge and experience to further New York Life's tradition of delivering on our commitments to policy owners and clients, agents and employees, and the communities where we work and live," said Mr. Mathas. "In a career that spans more than two decades with our company, he has held leadership roles and produced outstanding results in virtually every line of business and has a clear vision for enhancing our unrivaled competitive positioning. We are very fortunate to have someone with Craig's dedication to our mission and values and appreciation for our culture taking over the reins as New York Life's chief executive."

Michele Buck, President and CEO of The Hershey Company and lead director of New York Life's Board, added, "In the Board's unanimous view, Craig's breadth of experience at New York Life, his strength as a recognized senior leader, and his understanding of the industry make him the right individual to take on this role and help author the next chapters in New York Life's long and successful history."

Mr. DeSanto joined New York Life in 1997 as an actuarial summer intern and was promoted into roles of increasing responsibility across the company's finance and business operations, which included leading the institutional and individual life insurance businesses. In 2015, Mr. DeSanto was appointed leader of the company's strategic businesses, where he strengthened and further diversified a portfolio of businesses that complement and support the company's core individual life insurance business. Today, these businesses generate the majority of New York Life's earnings, nearly 50 percent of dividends paid, and approximately half of the company's life insurance sales.

In 2018, Mr. DeSanto assumed oversight for New York Life's top-ranked retail annuity business line. In 2019, he added oversight of New York Life Investment Management (NYLIM), New York Life's $450 billion multi-boutique third-party asset management business serving institutions and individuals around the world. In 2020, Mr. DeSanto led the effort to successfully close the acquisition of Cigna's Group Life and Disability business, now known as New York Life Group Benefit Solutions. The acquisition is the largest in New York Life's history.

Mr. DeSanto said, "I'm honored to have the confidence of the Board and to succeed Ted who has led us through a historic period of growth and success by capitalizing on our strengths as the largest mutual life insurer in the country." He added, "Having built my entire career at New York Life, I have a deep appreciation for our 176-year history of providing financial security and peace of mind to our policy owners and clients. Our mutuality, superior financial strength, industry-leading career agency system, and outstanding team of dedicated employees position us exceptionally well to continue to provide the trusted advice and guidance our clients expect from us and to always be there when we are needed most."

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