Ex-MBB partners appointed to top jobs in Asia for financial services firm MetLife

27 August 2018 Authored by Consultancy.asia

Financial services firm MetLife has named Kishore Ponnavolu as its new Asian region President together with the appointment of Rebecca Tadikonda as Head of Strategic Growth Markets, Asia. Both currently US-based, Ponnavolu is an ex-McKinsey partner and former principal at A.T. Kearney, while Tadikonda previously served as a partner at Bain.

Ponnavolu and Tadikonda, the two new leaders for the Asian operations of MetLife – which is one of the world’s largest insurance and employee benefits providers with a presence in Greater China, Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, Bangladesh and Nepal among its more than 40 worldwide location – have both been recruited internally, with Ponnavolu and Tadikonda having been with the firm for seven and four years respectively.

Ponnavolu, MetLife’s new President for Asia, will be based in Hong Kong, and will further become a member of the firm’s Executive Group, reporting to global CEO Steven Kandarian. Prior to joining MetLife in 2011, where he has most recently been acting as its President of Auto and Home in the US, Ponnavolu served as a Senior Vice President in Strategy, Innovation, and Business Transformation at American Express and spent two years at GE Money, before which he was a partner with McKinsey and principal at A.T. Kearney – altogether spending 13 years at the strategy and management consultancies.

“Kishore has a proven track record of transformational leadership that engages customers, motivates employees, and drives profitable growth,” said Kandarian. “These highly transferable skills make him the right leader for our large and growing Asia business, and I have every confidence that he will take it to even higher levels of success.”Ex-MBB partners appointed to top jobs by insurer MetLife in Asia

In his new role, effective as of the 1st of September, Ponnavolu will be tasked with directly overseeing MetLife operations in Japan, Korea and Australia along with taking responsibility for the firm’s Asian innovation hub, LumenLab. Tadikonda, meanwhile, to be based in Singapore, will be charged with managing activities in Bangladesh, China, Malaysia, Nepal and Vietnam among other emerging locales as MetLife’s new Head of Strategic Growth Markets for Asia – also from the 1st of September.

Kandarian said; “Rebecca is a world-class strategist who has helped MetLife chart a course toward greater customer centricity, efficient capital allocation, and a more attractive portfolio of businesses. With her background advising a range of companies in markets across the globe, including Asia, she was the natural choice to accelerate value creation in the region.”

Currently MetLife’s Chief Strategy Officer out of New York, Tadikonda crossed to the insurer in mid-2014 following 11 years with strategy and management firm Bain & Company, where she became a partner in the New York office serving in the financial services division with a focus on insurance, banking and payments. This followed an earlier three-year stint at Bain from 1995 after receiving her BA in Economics at Dartmouth College. Tadikonda has since completed an MBA with Standford University’s Graduate School of Business, and served as Director of Marketing for DHL International before rejoining Bain.

An early background at the world’s leading consultancies is a common feature among MetLife’s executive branch. John McCallion, CFO, started out as a Senior Manager with PwC, spending nearly ten years with the Big Four firm, while Chief Human Resources Officer Susan Podlogar spent five years as an analyst and consultant with Mercer. President for Latin America, Oscar Schmidt, too, kicked off his career as an auditor for Arthur Andersen in Argentina, while last year MetLife named former Oliver Wyman partner and Global Head of Insurance Ramy Tadros as its new Chief Risk Officer after two decades with the global management consulting firm.

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