Bigger than Ever with AIG Deal

As CFO and executive vice president of MetLife, Bill Wheeler is widely credited with playing a key role in steering the $41 billion insurance company through the perilous shoals of the credit crisis and recession, and bringing it out on the other side stronger and bigger than before.

But Wheeler, 48, is quick to credit others in the company who "made some pretty good investment calls" before the crisis hit. Notably, he says, as early as 2005 MetLife became concerned about structured investments and started getting out of debt products that were based on subprime mortgages. Wheeler also "vividly recalls" a board meeting in late 2007, he says, when it was decided that a recession was ahead, "and we had to get out of cyclical businesses--the auto companies, the airlines and the builders."

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