Former Chairman & CEO, New York Life Insurance Company
Sy Sternberg is retired chairman of the board and chief executive officer of New York Life Insurance Company, the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States and one of the largest life insurers in the world.
Mr. Sternberg joined New York Life in 1989 as senior vice president in charge of the company’s group insurance department. In February 1995, Mr. Sternberg was elected vice chairman of the board of New York Life, and became president and chief operating officer on October 1, 1995. He became chairman of the board and chief executive officer on April 1, 1997, and remained CEO until his retirement on June 30, 2008. He continued as non-executive chairman of the board until his retirement from the Board on May 31, 2009. Mr. Sternberg retired as the Company’s longest-serving chairman since the position was established in 1931.
Before joining New York Life in 1989, Mr. Sternberg spent 13 years at the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, where he was most recently senior executive vice president. In that position, he was one of three members of the office of the chairman and a member of the company’s board of directors.
Mr. Sternberg is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Northeastern University. He is a director of the CIT Group, Inc., and Express Scripts, Inc. Mr. Sternberg is a Board of Trustees member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and the Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
In 1999, Mr. Sternberg was appointed by President Clinton and served through 2002 as one of three United States representatives to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC).
In January 2008, Mayor Bloomberg of New York City appointed Mr. Sternberg as co-chair, along with former Mayor Dinkins, of the Mayor’s task force on Career and Technical Education Innovation.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Mr. Sternberg earned a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from the City College of New York in 1965 and an M.S.E.E. degree from Northeastern University in 1968. He received a Chartered Life Underwriter designation in 1976. Mr. Sternberg received an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering degree from Polytechnic University in 2006, an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree from City College of New York in 2010, and an Honorary Doctorate of Commerce degree from Northeastern University in 2012.
Mr. Sternberg is the father of two grown daughters, Jodi and Donna, and resides in Purchase, N.Y., with his wife, Laurie, and their son, Matthew.