Exclusive: MetLife’s Ellermeyer Shifts to Apollo Insurance Operation

Investment pro to help manage insurance assets at Leon Black’s shop, which got its start with a defunct insurer’s junk bonds.

Apollo Global Management is best-known as a private equity firm, but it also runs money for insurance companies. So it just hired Jeremy Ellermeyer, a MetLife managing director, to help it do just that.

Ellermeyer, 48, has started work as a managing director at what’s called credit business management in Apollo’s Insurance Solutions Group. Its two large insurance entities, Athene ($119 billion assets under management as of mid-year), which handles the US, and Athora ($14 billion), dedicated to Europe, invest the money generated by premiums, after benefits are paid out.

Neither Apollo nor MetLife would comment on Ellermeyer’s new job. And Ellermeyer himself, who joined MetLife in 2014, couldn’t be reached. At the outset of his career, after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s University in 1992, he spent six years at UBS Global Asset Management. He has an MBA from Fordham University.

Founded by Drexel Burnham investment banker Leon Black in 1990, Apollo has its roots in insurance. After Drexel collapsed amid a rout in its signature junk bonds, Black, who had been the firm’s mergers and acquisitions chief, got ownership of the fixed income portfolio of a failed insurer, Executive Life.

Turned out that the portfolio was stuffed with Drexel-provided junk bonds, which were valued at a fraction of their par value. The canny Black had scored a bargain. When the high-yield paper’s price later recovered, what was then called Apollo Advisors cleaned up.

Since then, Apollo has carved out a place in the private equity world. Its most recent acquisition was digital imaging outfit Shutterfly for $2.7 billion. And it even has gobbled up an insurer, completing a $2.6 billion deal for Aspen Insurance Holdings in February. But Apollo also has branched into real estate, credit, and investment management.

Apollo just went through a top-level management shift, with the promotion of two longtime partners to lead its private equity business, which boasts $77 billion in assets. Matt Nord and David Sambur are taking over from Co-President Scott Kleinman.

Apollo announced last spring it was converting from a publicly traded partnership to a C corporation, which it felt would help its stock price. CEO Black, lamented at first that the stock still was lagging, but it since has perked up, advancing 33% since the switch.


Related Stories:

Apollo Secures $24.6 Billion for Largest Private Equity Fund Ever

Apollo’s Leon Black Laments Going Public

MetLife Pension Payout Snafu Leads to $1 Million Fine


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