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MetLife Says Gutierrez Joins Board After Leaving Citi

MetLife Inc., (MET) the largest U.S. life insurer, said former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, has joined the board of directors as the company faces increased oversight from federal regulators.

Gutierrez, 59, stepped down last month as vice chairman of Citigroup Inc. (C)’s institutional client group, New York-based MetLife said today in a statement.

Gutierrez spent almost 30 years at Kellogg Co., the biggest U.S. cereal maker, and was the youngest chief executive officer in the company’s history before joining the cabinet of then- President George W. Bush. He stepped down from Citigroup to become chairman of Republicans for Immigration Reform.

“His significant leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, combined with his strong, global management background, will make him a valuable resource for MetLife,” Steven Kandarian, the insurer’s CEO, said in the statement.

Kandarian has been expanding in Asia and Latin America, and announced a deal last month to buy pension provider AFP Provida SA to expand asset management in Chile. Kandarian has exited banking to limit U.S. oversight and has said the company shouldn’t be labeled a systemically important financial institution, a designation that could bring tougher capital standards.

Today’s appointment is the first to MetLife’s board since the departure last year of Eduardo Castro-Wright after the New York Times reported that the Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) unit he ran in Mexico paid bribes to government officials.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zachary Tracer in New York at ztracer1@bloomberg.net

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

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