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 MILWAUKEE, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- James D. Ericson, president and chief operating officer of the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company since 1991, became chief executive officer of the company today. Ericson's election to chief executive was approved by the company's board of trustees at its meeting July 28.
 Ericson, 57, assumes the duties of Chairman Donald J. Schuenke, 64, who has been Northwestern's CEO since March 1, 1983. Schuenke will continue as the company's chairman until he reaches mandatory retirement age in January 1994. After retiring as chairman, Schuenke will continue to serve on the company's board of trustees.
 "Jim Ericson is superbly prepared to lead this company, through his hands-on experience in key company operations and his terrific track record in a variety of important assignments, including heading Northwestern's quality improvement program," Schuenke said. "He has demonstrated superb judgment, solid leadership and a personal commitment to this company's core principles."
 Ericson was elected president of the company on Jan. 1, 1990, and has been chief operating officer since Jan. 1, 1991.
 As chief operating officer, he has been responsible for Northwestern's insurance, investment, information systems, marketing and agency operations. He had earlier headed, in succession, the company's policy benefits, law and investment departments.
 Ericson joined Northwestern Mutual Life as an attorney in 1965. He has been an executive officer of the company since 1972 and has served as assistant to the president (1972-75), director of policy benefits (1975-76), vice president and general counsel (1976-80), senior vice president of investments (1980-87) and executive vice president (1987- 89) before being named president. He has been a member of the board of trustees since Nov. 29, 1989.
 "It is a privilege to head a company as successful and financially secure as the Northwestern," Ericson said. He noted that Northwestern Mutual is one of only three insurance companies with top financial ratings from Moody's, Standard & Poor's, Duff and Phelps and A.M. Best.
 "The challenge will be to make the best even better," Ericson said. "The high quality of our field force and home office staff makes me confident that we will continue the pattern of growth and financial strength we have experienced in the past decade."
 Ericson is a native of Hawarden, Iowa (pop. 2,722) and received a B.A. in history and a Juris Doctor degree from the State University of Iowa. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1958. He completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School in 1979.
 Schuenke has been with Northwestern since 1963 and also joined the company as an attorney. He was elected president and a trustee of the company in 1980, chief operating officer in 1981 and chief executive officer in 1983. Schuenke was named chairman of the company on Jan. 1, 1990.
 With more than $42 billion in assets, Northwestern Mutual Life is the largest company in Wisconsin and the 53rd largest in the United States, according to the Fortune rankings. It is the nation's eighth largest life insurance company. The company has more than $290 billion of insurance in force on 2.3 million policyowners.
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 /CONTACT: W. Ward White of Northwestern Mutual Life, 414-299-2075/

CO: Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company ST: Wisconsin IN: INS SU: PER

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 1, 1993

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