New York Life Inurance Co. announced executive changes in its investment management business Monday, naming executive vice president John Kim as chief investment officer.

He will replace Gary Wendlandt, the current vice chairman and chief investment officer, who will retire 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.

“Since 2007, Gary has been a valued member of the company’s Board of Directors where his keen intellect, sage advice, and uncommon devotion to this Company, our policyholders, our agents and employees will most certainly be missed,” said Ted Mathas, chairman and chief executive officer of New York Life.

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. New York Life touted Kim’s deep knowledge in investment management and strong operational skills in running businesses.