Steven A. Kandarian is chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), a leading provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs to approximately 100 million customers in nearly 50 markets around the world. He became president and CEO on May 1, 2011 and chairman of the board of directors on January 1, 2012. For 2014, MetLife had $71.1 billion in revenue and ranked 42nd on the most recent FORTUNE 500®.
Kandarian joined MetLife in April 2005 as executive vice president and chief investment officer (CIO). From 2007 to 2012, he also led MetLife’s enterprise-wide strategy, which identified key areas of focus for the company.
His direction contributed to MetLife’s 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 the company’s more than $450 billion general account portfolio and led a number of initiatives that strengthened the portfolio and contributed to MetLife’s bottom line. He enhanced the company’s focus on effective risk management and diversified MetLife’s investment portfolio, in part through the $5.4 billion sale of Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town in 2006. 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. His efforts helped MetLife emerge from the 2008 credit crisis with the financial strength to complete the company’s $16.2 billion purchase of Alico.
From 2001 to 2004, Kandarian was executive director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). During his tenure, 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, helping to lay the groundwork for the enactment of the Pension Protection Act of 2006.
Previously, Kandarian was founder and managing partner of Orion Partners, LP, a private equity firm based in the Boston area. Earlier he was managing director of Lee Capital Holdings. He 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, the Institute of International Finance, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Neuberger Berman and the Partnership for New York City. He is a member of the Business Council, the Business Roundtable and the Financial Services Forum. Kandarian earned his B.A. from Clark University, J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.