Newport Beach’s Pacific Life Insurance Co., the third-largest private company by revenue in OC, has created the post of chief information and digital security officer to advance its companywide technology and digital strategies.
Chosen for the dual-function job is Mary Beth Eckert, who has been with insurance company USAA, where she has been serving as chief information officer, corporate and insurance services as well as senior vice president.
She will start with Pacific Life on Dec. 13.
“It’s a newly expanded role—one title with added responsibilities. She will be replacing Mike Shadler, who served as CIO and will be retiring at the end of the year,” a Pacific Life spokesperson told the Business Journal.
The spokesperson added: “Mary Beth will be focused on bringing technology and data strategies together across the enterprise to respond to changing trends and will enhance competitive positioning in our chosen markets.”
Eckert will report to CEO and President Darryl Button and will sit on the company’s management committee. She will also be executive vice president of Pacific Life.
Pacific Life “aims to expand its technology capabilities in an industry that has rapidly evolved through the adoption of artificial intelligence and cloud computing,” according to a recent story on the hiring by the Wall Street Journal.
Insurance giant PacLife counts more than half of the 100 largest U.S. companies as its clients.
The company had revenue of $13.7 billion last year, ranking No. 3, behind Santa Ana’s Allied Universal and Kingston Technology Co. of Fountain Valley among privately held OC companies.
Pacific Life had 1,658 employees in OC and 4,149 companywide as of October.
It handles life insurance, annuities, mutual funds and investment products and services.
Prior to USAA, Eckert served as vice president, e-business technology at the Travelers Group where she led the shared services function and drove transformation of the IT organization.
Eckert started her career at PwC, where she built her technology leadership background, followed by several senior leadership roles at Zurich North America, according to a Pacific Life statement.
Her “extensive experience in the insurance and financial services industry, coupled with her strong track record of leading technology transformations with demonstrated ability in leading high-performing teams, will play a critical role as we continue to grow our digital capabilities,” CEO Button, who took on his role in April, said in the statement.
He said Eckert will oversee “the convergence of our technology and digital strategies to ensure we remain competitive in our chosen markets.”
Pacific Life counted $209.5 billion in assets as of last year.
“Pacific Life takes the security of personal information very seriously and ensuring sound and secure data protection is our top priority,” the company said in its 2021 annual report.