CARMEL, Ind. - Gary C. Wendt has been named chairman and chief executive officer of the insurer Conseco, effective immediately. Mr. Wendt is a former chairman and CEO of GE Capital Services.

He succeeds David V. Harkins, who was interim chairman and CEO for the past two months.

Mr. Wendt came to GE in 1975 and was named CEO of GE Capital in 1984. He left the company in 1998.

Stephen C. Hilbert, Conseco's founder, chairman, and CEO, resigned in April after the company posted a 73% decrease in first-quarter profits. Chief financial officer Rollin M. Dick also resigned.

Conseco's troubles stemmed from Mr. Hilbert's ill-fated attempt to build a financial supermarket with the 1998 acquisition of Green Tree Financial, a specialist in manufactured home lending.

Its stock plummeted on news of the deal, which analysts said was too pricey at $6.5 billion, and never recovered.

Conseco recently abandoned the strategy and put Green Tree on the block, saying it expected to get $4.5 billion for it.

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