Ensuring it retains its powerful lobbying position at the highest level in Washington, the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) has appointed another high-powered political figure, Dirk A Kempthorne, as its new president and CEO. Kempthorne succeeds Frank Keating who served in the positions of president and CEO from January 2003 to 3 November 2010.
A Republican, 59-year-old Kempthorne’s long political career began in 1985 when he was elected as mayor of Boise, the state of Idaho’s largest city. He went on to become governor of Idaho in May 2006, a position he held until January 1999.
Between June 2006 and January 2009 he served as US Secretary of the Interior in President George W Bush’s administration. Kempthorne has been mooted by the US media as a possible Republican presidential candidate in the 2012 presidential elections.
Emphasising the importance of Kempthorne’s political background, ACLI chairman C Robert Henrikson, said: “Dirk’s excellent reputation in Washington, coupled with his understanding and appreciation of state regulation of insurance, is a unique and valuable resource for the industry and regulators alike, during this time of evolving regulatory relationships in the US and around the world.”
Henrikson is also chairman, president and CEO of MetLife.
Henrikson added: “Dirk will have very big shoes to fill. Since joining ACLI, Frank Keating has made significant contributions to the life insurance industry.
“He dramatically increased membership, CEO involvement and the overall effectiveness of the organisation. He has been a first-class advocate for the life insurance industry during one of the most eventful periods in life insurers’ history.”
Keating, who is also a Republican, began his political career when he was elected to the state of Oklahoma’s House of Representatives in 1972. Among many positions, Keating was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and Associate Attorney General in the Justice Department between 1985 and 1992, during administrations of presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush. In 1994, Keating was elected as Governor of Oklahoma, a position he held for two consecutive four-year terms.