Rob Henrikson, Former MetLife CEO

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Rob Henrikson MetLife CEO visits Rotary club of TuscaloosaThe great “financial meltdown” of 2008 destroyed many good companies. Met Life was not one of them. Under the leadership of Rob Henrikson and others, MetLife saw the trouble coming, and positioned itself to take advantage of a great opportunity. Last Tuesday Rotarians heard from Henrikson, former chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of MetLife, on how they survived. Rotarian James Leitner introduced the speaker.



The key for Metlife, said Henrikson, was a long-term strategy focused on organic growth. Bold acquisitions were only one part of that overall strategy, and even then only when they made sense. Also key was transparency. “There is no way a company can be transparent with the outside world without being transparent with itself,” he said.


Talent, too, was indispensable, as was overall strength. All of these gave Metlife “more than one option” in difficult times, and even positioned it to make historic deals—a $2 billion property in New York City sold for $5 billion, for example, or the acquisition of ALICO. And amid all of the deals, Henrikson said, it was key to keep an eye on people and fundamentals. “There is always more at stake than the price,” Henrikson said.


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