November 15, 2012 / 1:22 PM / 6 years ago

Manulife names Rooney as COO as it struggles for profit

TORONTO (Reuters) - Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) said on Thursday that it had promoted Paul Rooney, currently the head of the Canadian division, to chief operating officer as Canada’s largest life insurer struggles to be profitable in weak financial markets.

Manulife, the owner of U.S. insurer John Hancock, said it had decided on Rooney’s successor as general manager of the Canadian division and would announce the appointment shortly.

Rooney, who joined Manulife as an actuarial student in 1986, will be responsible for corporate strategy and development, capital solutions, human resources and global resourcing.

Last week, Manulife reported a smaller third-quarter loss due to improved financial markets-related results but delayed its profit goal of C$4 billion by a year to 2016, citing macroeconomic conditions.

The loss, which came amid stronger-than-expected results at Canadian insurance rivals Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO) and Great-West Lifeco (GWO.TO), put additional pressure on Manulife’s already struggling shares.

Manulife warned last quarter that it was rethinking its goal of C$4 billion in net profit by 2015.

The company now expects to hit the C$4 billion level by 2016 and says the goal is for “core” rather than net profit. It said net profit could be lower than the core earnings, which exclude the direct impact of financial markets as well as certain other items.

The shift is just the latest setback for the company, which has endured sharp quarterly losses over the past four years due to the impact of weak stock markets and low bond yields.

Reporting by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by John Wallace and Lisa Von Ahn

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