VP, Employee Benefits Tax - Legal Affairs

  • Company: MetLife
  • Location: New York, New York
  • Posted: February 07, 2017
  • Reference ID: 42542-en_US

PositionVP, Employee Benefits Tax – Legal Affairs


Job Location:   New York, NY 


:   Reporting directly to the SVP and Head of the Tax/ ERISA Unit of MetLife’s General Corporate Legal Affairs section, the VP, Employee Benefits, will lead and manage the team responsible for providing all tax and ERISA advice across the enterprise, including MetLife’s own employee benefits plans and compensation programs, covering over 55,000 employees in close to 50 countries.  This role also works closely with relevant business line leaders, product managers, and attorneys on tax related matters as well as with corporate Tax and M&A. 


The Legal Department reorganized last year to reflect a greater prioritization of leadership and management skills.  The VP, Employee Benefits, must demonstrate not just excellent technical acumen, but strong leadership and influencing skills.  He or she will provide both strategic and tactical thought leadership, ensuring that the Employee Benefits team operates effectively, consistently, and efficiently to support business partnerships and objectives.  The successful candidate is expected to spend approximately 50% of the time leading, developing and motivating associates, and building a robust talent pipeline.  This role presents the opportunity to join a vibrant team dedicated to continually raising the bar for strategic legal partnership and leadership at a time of industry and company transformation.



Provide enterprise-wide Tax/ ERISA counsel, including support to or on:

  • HR benefits teams on qualified pension and 401(k) plans, robust health and welfare benefits program including ACA, HIPAA and COBRA compliance matters; severance, retention and relocation programs
  • Executive Compensation on numerous active and frozen nonqualified deferred compensation plans and all 409A issues relating thereto; the tax aspects of MetLife executive compensation arrangements including 162(m) and 280G advice
  • Payroll tax issues, including payroll audits
  • Investments Department on ERISA rules governing pension asset investments and qualified/ non-qualified status as well as any other tax/ ERISA related investments matters
  • All benefits aspects of MetLife’s M&A activity
  • Fiduciary advice to MetLife’s Employee Benefits and Investment Advisory Committees as well internal trustees for MetLife’s VEBAs and welfare benefits trusts
  • All aspects of international assignments, employee benefits and payroll matters, including payroll audits
  • MetLife’s Global Benefits, Group Benefits, and Retirement & Income Solutions lines of business, including managing the resolution and completion of business partners’ legal work through a team of lawyers


Continue to elevate department performance and development through leadership and management skills:

  • Motivate, develop and lead a team of attorneys in alignment with a robust performance management process focused on year-long associate career development, empowering team members to drive engagement and high performance
  • Partner with other department leaders to set and achieve departmental objectives and initiatives, develop talent, and manage resources to provide support to business and functional partners across MetLife
  • Manage resource planning and workflow, ensuring timely: (a) response to requests for legal advice, (b) review and edit of invoices, and (c) completion of legal holds and Autonomy requests
  • Provide thought leadership on General Corporate and Legal Affairs strategy priorities, especially talent strategy, customer-centric service delivery, and efficient operation
  • Collaborate with colleagues in Corporate Tax to share insights on external developments and the needs of shared internal clients, ensuring a coordinated, One MetLife approach
  • Inspire the trust and respect of the team and business partners at all levels, motivating and enabling them to achieve Enterprise / Department goals


  • 10-15+ years of relevant, senior-level experience providing employee benefits / ERISA counsel to multiple stakeholders in a global, complex environment
  • Demonstrated passion for and success in leading, managing and developing high performing talent while driving results
  • Strategic planning, analytical, problem-solving, and organizational skills
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, with a track record of building effective partnerships across constituencies both internally within a matrixed environment and with outside counsel
  • Self-directed, creative, and strategic thinker who is collaborative and decisive, uses sound judgment, exhibits a high degree of professionalism, establishes priorities, adheres to deadlines, works independently, and motivates others
  • JD and NY bar admission required; LL.M. in Taxation or Employee Benefits strongly preferred


  • Thinks Strategically – Sets direction aligned to the company’s strategy, applying external and global perspective to meet local and global needs.
  • Motivates People – Gains people commitment to achieve business objectives through clear communication of the company’s vision and flexing leadership styles to inspire high performance.
  • Creates Partnerships – Authentically builds trusted relationships and collaborates across global, diverse and multi-functional teams to successfully drive business objectives.
  • Seizes Opportunity – Seeks new opportunities and ways to create balanced business growth while improving operational capabilities.
  • Grows Talent – Inclusively and pro-actively develops talent, empowers individuals and manages diverse teams to drive engagement and performance.
  • Models our Values – Creates a culture that promotes the company’s values and standards through role modeling, accountability and ownership of decisions.
  • Focuses on Customers – Promotes customer centricity and ensures focus on creating great customer experiences to achieve competitive advantage.
  • Drives Results – Sets aggressive goals and is accountable for continuously driving improved performance, leading change and ensuring high standards.


  • Reports to:                 SVP, Tax/ ERISA – Legal Affairs
  • Direct reports/team:   4
  • Key Stakeholders:      Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation, Payroll, line of business leaders and attorneys, Corporate Tax Investments, International Assignment Office, M&A, External counsel & auditors


MetLife, through our subsidiaries and affiliates, is one of the largest life insurance companies in the world. Founded in 1868, we are a global provider of life insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management. Our employees serve approximately 100 million customers, individuals and businesses, including over 90 of the FORTUNE 100®. 


We are ranked #40 on the Fortune 500 list and #48 on the Forbes Global 500 list. We have operations in nearly 50 countries, and hold leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. We are also one of the largest institutional investors in the U.S. with over $500 billion in our general account portfolio as of December 31, 2015.  In 2015, FORTUNE Magazine’s World’s Most Admired Company survey named us #1 in the Life and Health Insurance industry. In 2016, we were named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) for the first time.


While we have tremendous respect for the past, we are a company firmly focused on the future. To adapt to a changing world, we are undergoing one of the most dramatic transformations in our history to reinvent how we do business so we can thrive in any environment. We are moving away from a traditional product-development model to one driven by customer insights. We are challenging historical norms by humanizing our industry and designing every customer experience to reflect the modern company we’re becoming. Our goal in everything we do is to offer customers truly differentiated value propositions that allow us to establish clear competitive advantages. We pride ourselves on being a trusted partner to our customers as they navigate life’s twists and turns.


At the center of our business strategy is a commitment to One MetLife – collaborating, sharing best practices, and recruiting, developing and retaining the best talent in the industry. We live by our values:  Put Customers First, Be the Best, Make Things Easier, and Succeed Together. They guide how we operate every day. 

The Legal Affairs line of business is comprised of the Law Department, Corporate Ethics and Compliance and Legal Affairs Operations, and provides legal services and compliance oversight to the Company, globally. Within the Law Department, the General Corporate section handles all types of corporate legal matters for MetLife, providing legal support for mergers and acquisitions, securities, securities offerings and related disclosures and filings, public company matters, financing of MetLife’s operations and capital raising activities global GIC program, insurance regulation, tax/ERISA matters relating to both MetLife’s products and its internal employee benefits programs. The General Corporate section effectively performs these services through seven practice areas, or units: (1) Corporate Secretary’s Office; (2) Public Company / M&A; (3) Corporate Law; (4) Global Corporate Services; (5) Global IP / Technology & Regulatory; (6) Global Legal / Regulatory Coordination; and (7) Tax/ERISA.


In Legal Affairs, we strive to attract, develop and retain diverse talent with the potential to be future leaders of our department and of MetLife as a whole. We seek legal and compliance professionals who demonstrate high intellectual capacity to understand complex matters facing our company, combined with strong leadership competencies to motivate and inspire higher performance by all our professionals. We take an active role in developing the skills of our talent and guiding their professional growth. By promoting skill development and career advancement for our professionals we are better positioned to serve our internal business partners and to help achieve MetLife’s vision of becoming a world-class leader in the insurance, retirement savings and employee benefits industries.



MetLife is a proud equal opportunity/affirmative action employer committed to attracting, retaining, and maximizing the performance of a diverse and inclusive workforce. It is MetLife's policy to ensure equal employment opportunity without discrimination or harassment based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, national origin, marital or domestic/civil partnership status, genetic information, citizenship status, uniformed service member or veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

MetLife maintains a drug-free workplace.

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Requisition #: 42542 

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