Genworth names Thomas McInerney CEO

Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:20am EST

Dec 11 (Reuters) - Genworth Financial Inc named Thomas McInerney chief executive as the insurer looks to move past the billions of dollars in losses from its mortgage insurance business.

McInerney, who was a member of the global management board of ING Insurance from October 2009 through December 2010, is now in charge of a company trying to convince markets and bond rating agencies of the benefits of its mortgage insurance business.

Shares of the company were up 5 percent at $7.10 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday morning.

"This is a positive, but they still have problems. McInerney has experience, but it's still wait and see," said a Genworth shareholder, who declined to be named.

Bond rating firm Moody's had said a downgrade is likely unless the company can insulate itself from continuing losses from the mortgage insurance unit.

Long-time CEO Michael Frazier resigned in May after the insurer pushed back plans to sell a minority stake in its Australian mortgage insurance business through an initial public offering.

The Australian unit's listing would have freed up capital, which shareholders were hoping would be used for a long-awaited share buyback program.

Hedge fund Highfield Capital, which owns more than 5 percent of Genworth, had in June said it expects to discuss options for the U.S. mortgage business, including a sale.

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