Dow Jones Newswires

NEW YORK - Gary C. Wendt, the former chief of General Electric Co.'s financial services unit, is a leading contender for the top spot at the troubled insurer Conseco Inc., according to a person familiar with the matter.

Conseco's board of directors has been looking for a new chairman, president, and chief executive since company founder Stephen C. Hilbert resigned in April. Chief financial officer Rollin M. Dick also resigned at that time.

David V. Harkins, president of the leveraged buyout firm Thomas H. Lee Partners, stepped in as interim CEO following Mr. Hilbert's departure and is overseeing the executive search.

Mr. Wendt is credited with turning GE Capital into a wide-ranging financial services giant. Naming him to the top post at Conseco could go a long way toward restoring investor confidence in the insurer.

"This is the superstar they've been waiting for," the person familiar with the matter said.

This person said that Mr. Wendt is interested in the job, but that Conseco's board has not decided whether to make an offer.

The Carmel, Ind., insurer would neither confirm nor deny that Mr. Wendt is a candidate. Mr. Wendt was not immediately available for comment.

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