(Image source: New York Life.)
New York Life announced today that Co-Chief Operating Officer Craig DeSanto, 43, has been elected president of America’s largest mutual life insurance company by New York Life’s Board of Directors, effective immediately. The role of president has been held by Chairman and CEO Ted Mathas, who assumed the role when former President John Y. Kim retired in 2018. DeSanto continues to report to Mathas.
With his promotion to president, DeSanto will oversee all businesses of the company, including the Individual Life Insurance and Agency Distribution units, as well as Retail Annuities, New York Life Investment Management, and the company’s portfolio of strategic businesses.
“Throughout his more than two decades with the company, Craig has delivered steady and proven leadership, exceptional execution of our strategic plans, consistently strong business results, and an unwavering commitment to our people and the communities we serve,” comments Mathas. “Craig’s keen intellect, deep understanding of our industry, and steadfast appreciation for our mission, purpose, values, and mutual business model gives me great confidence in his ability to continue to lead our organization moving forward.”
DeSanto joined New York Life in 1997 as an actuarial intern and was quickly promoted into roles of increasing responsibility across New York Life’s finance and business operations, including as head of the Institutional Life Insurance business, Individual Life Insurance business, and Eagle Strategies. In 2015, he was appointed to lead the company’s Strategic Businesses, where he systematically built a portfolio of businesses that today directly support the core retail life insurance franchise, diversify the company’s sales and earnings, and enhance its financial strength. In 2017, DeSanto joined the company’s Executive Management Committee, and in the two subsequent years, he assumed oversight for Retail Annuities and New York Life Investment Management, respectively.
Role in Cigna Group Life and Disability Acquisition
Mathas notes that DeSanto has helped lead New York Life’s pending acquisition of Cigna’s Group Life and Disability Insurance business—the company’s largest acquisition to date—which is a highly profitable industry leader and a strong complement to New York Life’s core individual life insurance franchise. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.
“In this, New York Life’s 175th year, it has never been more important to build on our rich legacy of delivering value to our policy owners and clients and ensure our growth and success in service of generations to come,” Mathas comments. “Craig has served the company with great distinction by embracing our long-term orientation and ensuring our interests align with those of our clients. I look forward to partnering closely with Craig in leading our businesses and people in the years ahead.”
“I am honored by the confidence that the Board and Ted have placed in me,” comments DeSanto. “In my more than 20 years with the company, our values of humanity and integrity, our unwavering commitment to mutuality, and our exceptional and dedicated team of agents and employees, have been critical to our success. I look forward to building on these strengths, as we continue to provide peace of mind and financial security to millions of individuals and businesses in the years and decades ahead.”