John Hancock CEO Announces Retirement

June 14, 2004

David F. D’Alessandro will retire as president and chief executive of John Hancock Financial Services in Boston late this year but continue serving on the board of Canada’s Manulife Financial Corp., which recently acquired John Hancock, the insurer said.

On Nov. 30, when the 53-year-old’s retirement takes effect, two senior executive vice presidents will head John Hancock’s two primary operating companies. James M. Benson, 57, will become president and CEO of John Hancock Life Insurance and John D. DesPrez III, 47, will fill those positions at John Hancock Financial Services.

Benson and DesPrez now respectively oversee John Hancock’s insurance business lines and wealth management lines and report to D’Alessandro. In the reorganization, they will both report to Dominic D’Alessandro, president and chief executive of Toronto-based Manulife Financial.

Dominic D’Alessandro and David D’Alessandro are not related.

The leadership changes arose out of the ongoing integration of Manulife Financial and John Hancock’s U.S. operations, the companies said in a news release. The merger, announced last September, was concluded April 28.

David D’Alessandro, who has spent 20 years with John Hancock, said the transition would allow him to focus on interests outside the company. He expressed confidence in the merged company’s future.

In March, a federal judge dismissed most of the claims in a lawsuit against John Hancock that contended the company paid its executives, including David D’Alessandro, too much and illegally tied their pay to the performance of Hancock’s initial public offering.

John Hancock, founded in 1862, converted from mutual ownership and became a public company in 1999.

The lawsuit sought to require David D’Alessandro and other executives to repay the company for compensation that was “wrongfully awarded to them” during the company’s conversion

The lawsuit, filed by Texas shareholder Aaron Landy Jr., criticized D’Alessandro’s $21.7 million pay package in 2002 – a 162 percent jump that coincided with a 32 percent slump in the company’s stock. His 2003 compensation was just under $17 million.

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