Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell said today she is “extremely unhappy” as she learns more about the possibility of significant job losses resulting from MetLife’s planned acquisition of Travelers Life & Annuity.
“My first priority as Governor is to protect jobs in our state,” Rell said. “I understand that government’s role is limited in business mergers and acquisitions. But my job is to fight for these jobs, and I’m going to do just that. I am extremely unhappy about what I’ve been hearing.”
Rell said she has spoken with MetLife Chairman Robert Benmosche, face-to-face and on the phone, and that her staff has met with his people. “But we still do not have a comfort level as to a definitive number of jobs that are in jeopardy, except that the numbers will be significant. I want exact numbers and exact guarantees,” she said in a staement.
“The quality of Connecticut’s work force, especially its insurance work force, is second-to-none. We are not just talking about numbers. We’re talking about people and their families. We are talking about hard-working employees who have helped us earn our reputation as the ‘Insurance Capital of the World.’ These are excellent people in good-paying jobs requiring key skills, and their loss could slow the economic progress that the state has made in recent months.”
Rell said she met with Benmosche on March 7 in her office, following MetLife’s January 31 announcement that it planned to acquire Travelers from Citigroup for $11.5 billion. The deal would make MetLife the largest individual life insurer in North America.
“I realize that the regulators have the ultimate say over the exact details of this acquisition,” Rell said. “But we also have an active role to play, as far as the law allows, in fighting for Connecticut jobs, and I will fight that fight. Job creation and retention remains my No. 1 priority and MetLife needs to understand that when it comes to jobs, the state of Connecticut means business.”
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