Monday, 1 September 2008

Richard R. Shinn

Richard R. Shinn - Chairman Metropolitan Life Insurance Company; Executive Vice Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange; Member of the Board of Directors of Chase Manhattan

Richard R. Shinn, a retired chairman of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, who was active in the arts and civic affairs and helped stave off New York City's fiscal crisis in the 1970's, died Friday at his home in Greenwich, Conn., after a long battle with leukemia. He was 81.

After graduating from Rider College in Trenton, Mr. Shinn began his career at Metropolitan Life in 1939 in the mailroom. He was paid $15 a week.

By 1953, he had become an assistant vice president for the group insurance division and was named vice president in charge of the group in 1963. In the post, he was responsible for major contracts with General Motors, General Electric and other large insurance customers. He became executive vice president in 1966 and senior executive vice president in 1968 in charge of all the company's life and health insurance administration and sales operations. He was elected president and a member of the board of directors in May 1969, and became chief executive in October 1973. He became chairman of the board in 1980, the ninth person to head Metropolitan since it was founded in 1868.

During his tenure, the company phased out its traditional home collection business and entered into the property and casualty insurance and reinsurance businesses. In order to provide better local service, he also established 10 subsidiaries. Metropolitan Life also purchased the 59-story Pan Am Building on Park Avenue north of Grand Central Terminal in 1980.

''Dick Shinn was a visionary leader who contributed over many years to the history of Met Life and helped propel the company into its prominent place in the financial services marketplace,'' said Robert H. Benmosche, the company's chairman and chief executive.

Mr. Shinn retired as chairman in 1983 but remained active in civic affairs and the arts during his retirement. Named executive vice chairman of the New York Stock Exchange in 1986, he served as chairman of an eight-member committee that the exchange set up the following year to monitor its own self-regulatory system in the wake of an insider trading scandal.

During the mid-1970's, at the request of Mayor Abraham Beame and Gov. Hugh Carey, he served on several panels to help avert the city's financial default. Recommendations from one of those panels, composed of Mr. Shinn and three other executives, led to the creation of the Municipal Assistance Corporation, which helped resolve the city's recurring short-term debt problem.

''In the discussions that led to the birth of the Municipal Assistance Corporation, Dick Shinn was always a tower of strength,'' Felix G. Rohatyn, the United States Ambassador to France, who is the former head of the corporation, said.

As a result of the crisis, and a compromise reached between the Mayor and the Municipal Assistance Corporation, Mayor Beame formed a management advisory board to review city operations, which Mr. Shinn led from 1975 through 1977. The commission recommended pay increases for city officials, which were vetoed by Mayor Beame. A study of the city's pension system suggested that additional cash payments to insure adequate financing be made by city employees rather than the cash-pressed city itself.

Mr. Shinn led a temporary New York City commission in the late 1970's that criticized a policy of naming unqualified political appointees, and one in 1983 that resulted in an increase in Mayor Edward I. Koch's salary from $80,000, to $110,000. And in 1987, he was chairman of a city commission that recommended pay levels for leading officials.

Mr. Shinn has served on the board of directors of numerous corporations including Chase Manhattan Bank, the Allied Corporation, May Department Stores, the Sperry Corporation and Consolidated Edison of New York. Mr. Shinn was also a trustee of the Conference Board, an independent research institute and a member of the board of the Metropolitan Opera Association, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Ladies Professional Golf Association.

He held honorary doctor of law degrees from Colgate University, Rider College and Iona College. Mr. Shinn was also a trustee of St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center, Vanderbilt University, Barnard College and the Inner-City Scholarship Fund.

Mr. Shinn was born in Lakewood, N.J., in 1918. He is survived by his wife, Marion; two daughters, Kathleen Clark of Greenwich, Conn., and Patricia Grossthanner of Germany; a son, John, of Doylestown, Pa.; seven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
Shinn, Richard R. SMOM • chairman, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
• trustee, American Enterprise Institute
SMOM member Richard R. Shinn chairs the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company while also serving as a trustee of the American Enterprise Institute. This conservative brain trust publishes This World magazine, whose editorial board includes four people closely associated with the Institute for Religion and Democracy [IRD]: James Finn, Paul Seabury, Michael Novak and Peter L. Berger.

Established in 1981 to combat the "heresy" of liberation theology, the IRD is financed by various right-wing groups, such as the Sarah Scaife and Smith Richardson foundations, both of which have served as CIA funding conduits.
SMOM by mention:

* Chernow,R. The House of Morgan. 1990 (620)
* Colby,G. Dennett,C. Thy Will Be Done. 1995 (789)
* Council on Foreign Relations. Membership Roster. 1992
* Dye,T. Who's Running America? 1983 (149, 156, 174)
* Lernoux,P. People of God. 1989 (301)
* Manheim,J. The Death of a Thousand Cuts. 2001 (54-5)

pages cited this search: 9

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