Three questions for new MetLife comms chief Jeanmarie McFadden

After 23 years working on Wall Street, Jeanmarie McFadden started a new role on Monday as MetLife's SVP and CCO. She chatted with PRWeek about her goals in the position and why she made the jump to the insurance sector.

After 23 years working on Wall Street, Jeanmarie McFadden started a new role on Monday as MetLife’s SVP and CCO. She chatted with PRWeek about her goals in the position and why she made the jump to the insurance sector.

PRWeek: What is your main scope of work at MetLife?
Jeanmarie McFadden:
I am focused explicitly on media relations, internal communications, and executive communications. Branding and marketing is not going to be in my wheelhouse at all; that falls under a completely separate branding chief at MetLife.  

I anticipate I will work closely with government relations, marketing, branding, and the senior management teams, cultivating the kind of communications function a company like MetLife should have.

As part of my role, I want to take a look at all the things they do and figure out if we can do anything differently, and I want to take the company to the next level in terms of its growth.

PRWeek: You retired from Morgan Stanley last March to take time off and think about what you wanted to do next. What made you go from Wall Street to an insurance business?
McFadden: The last seven years on Wall Street were particularly harrowing. I decided to try something new, yet related. I felt like I had done all I wanted to do, but I still wanted to participate in a business and use the skills and relationships I cultivated over the past 23 years on Wall Street.

I am not that familiar with the insurance business. But this is financial services, so it is pretty closely related to what I did at Morgan Stanley. This is a new opportunity for me with a completely new industry.

PRWeek: What are the major challenges for an insurance company in this day and age?
McFadden:
I don’t know the sector that well, but all global businesses have challenges; all companies are struggling. In 2010, MetLife had a big acquisition with Alico -- the largest life insurer in the US and Mexico. MetLife is building a global brand, and strengthening it. 

When I joined Morgan Stanley in 1990, it was also focused on growing the global brand. The communications team really helped with that. So hopefully I can help do the same thing with Alico and MetLife.

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