Bloomberg News

MetLife Promotes Executive Who Helped Win Stadium-Naming Rights

October 28, 2011

Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- MetLife Inc., the bigges2 U.S. insurer, promoted the marketing chief who helped put the insurer’s name on the home stadium of the National Football League’s New York Jets and Giants.

Beth Hirschhorn was named executive vice president of global brand marketing and communications and will continue to report to Chief Executive Officer Steven Kandarian, the New York-based company said today in a statement. Hirschhorn, previously senior vice president and chief marketing officer, led the stadium-name negotiations, said Christopher Breslin, a MetLife spokesman.

“Beth’s expanded role reflects the importance I place on continuing MetLife’s transformation to becoming a world-class brand, marketing and customer centric leader,” Kandarian said in the statement.

Kandarian is pushing marketing efforts beyond the blimps and cartoon mascot embraced by his predecessor, Chairman Robert Henrikson. Hirschhorn’s deal, announced in August, put the name MetLife Stadium on the sports arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, for the next 25 years. MetLife said it will reach “hundreds of millions” of people in person or via broadcast.

Henrikson, who ceded the CEO post in May, told investors in December that five years ago he turned down an opportunity to put MetLife’s name on “a big sports enterprise.” The company is a sponsor of the U.S. PGA Tour and its branded blimps appear at golf tournaments and other sports events. Snoopy, the dog from Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic strip, appears on MetLife’s home page and its blimps.

“People love Snoopy places we thought they might not like Snoopy at all,” Henrikson said in a May conference call with analysts. “Do the Japanese love the MetLife blimp doing the golf tournaments in Japan? You betcha.”

Kandarian is promoting MetLife outside the U.S. after the $16 billion purchase of American Life Insurance Co. last year brought customers in more than 50 countries from Chile to Poland to Japan. The company announced the creation of its “MetLife Alico” brand in March for non-U.S. businesses.

--Editors: Dan Reichl, Dan Kraut

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Frye in New York at afrye@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net


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