As we reported in our April issue, we found it strange that the huge insurer named Judy Weiss, who had had no experience in banking or marketing, to head its new retail banking unit, MetLife Bank. She had been MetLife's chief actuary a business far different then banking.
MetLife responded with a letter (see the June 2001 issue) in which it said: "Who better to spearhead that [banking] effort than Judy Weiss, a 28-year MetLife veteran, who has run a number of businesses at MetLife (including our Small Business Center and our mid-size Pensions Business), has forged solid partnerships throughout MetLife, understands our distribution channels, recognizes our cross-selling opportunities, knows how to leverage the MetLife brand, and most importantly, understands the needs of our customers."
Wow! That is impressive. But, Judy Weiss no longer heads MetLife Bank.
Why? MetLife CEO Robert Benmosche "believes in moving people around to energize operations and to prepare people for leadership positions," explains Kevin Foley, a MetLife spokesman. "Bob believes passionately in this," says Foley. Foley said Weiss' move was part of "40 or 50 executive changes throughout the company."
The new head of MetLife Bank makes more sense to us. Shailendra Ghorpade had been senior vice president of marketing for MetLife Financial Services. But don't worry bankers, with Benmoshe's philosophy Ghorpade may be put in charge of the mail room in a few months.