John Y. Kim, who is already the executive vice president of New York Life Insurance Company, will take over the chairman position currently held by Gary Wendlandt on January 1, 2011.

Wendlandt is retiring at the end of December after nearly 40 years in the industry. Kim is currently President and CEO of New York Life Investments, which has more than $275 billion in assets under management, and will carry the title of Chairman and CEO of Investments.  The president’s title will not be used. New York Life Investments is a wholly-owned subsidiary of New York Life Insurance Company, the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States and one of the largest insurers in the world.  

In August the company announced that Kim would become chief investment officer when Wendlandt retires at yearend.

The change now leaves a major legacy for Kim to manage. Wendlandt joined New York Life in 1999 and created its asset management business in 2000. He is a highly regarded executive whose handling of the mutual company’s investment portfolio helped it retain its triple-A corporate ratings.

Kim has worked closely with Wendlandt for the past couple of years, and will take on the CIO responsibilities in January. He joined New York Life in 2008, after serving a president of Prudential Retirement, where he ran its defined benefit, defined contribution and guaranteed products businesses. Kim also is a member of the Executive Management Committee, which is comprised of New York Life’s senior executive leadership and assists the CEO in setting policy for the company.  Mr. Kim reports to Ted Mathas, chairman and CEO of New York Life Insurance Company.

“John’s broad and deep experience and judgment helped guide New York Life Investments through one of the most challenging economic periods in history,” said Chairman and CEO Mathas in a statement. “As he guided Investments through the turmoil in the markets John managed to grow the business significantly while maintaining our long-time commitment to humanity, integrity and financial strength.”