Metlife's Fighter Pilot

Can Robert Benmosche breathe new life into "this sleeping giant"?

At Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., tradition still plays a weighty role. Just visit its ornate boardroom at One Madison Avenue in Manhattan. The room lies deep within the fortresslike building that MetLife built in 1893, 25 years after its founding in 1868. It boasts 27-foot ceilings painted with 18-karat gold, a massive mahogany fireplace, and solemn portraits of past chief executives with patrician names like Haley Fiske.

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