ATHANASSIADES--Theodossios of Princeton, NJ, died suddenly on February 13 at the age of 74. Athanassiades is a former president and chief operating officer of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife), served as a member of its board of directors as well as a vice-chairman of the company. Athanassiades joined MetLife in 1961, became an actuary and held various senior level positions during his 35 years of service with the company, including leading the group pension department to record sales from 1983 to 1991. Athanassiades played a pivotal role in MetLife's merger with New England Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1996, a move that enhanced MetLife's position in the individual insurance, estate planning and small business markets. Athanassiades became president of MetLife in April 1994 and was the moving force behind the company's market reaching strategies, including building customer relationships on the basis of service, education and trust. During his tenure as president, Athanassiades also emphasized retirement and savings products and launched a major effort to develop the worksite and small business markets. He is survived by his wife, Elaine, children Karen (spouse Elliot Berger) and Stratos (spouse Sheryl), grandchildren, Theo, Tessa, Chloe, Christos, Alec, sister, Maria Halaris (spouse Costas) and nieces and nephews. His sense of integrity and loyalty were ever present in his actions and are remembered by his family, many friends, and colleagues. A lover of classical music, travel, and good wine, Sakis (as he was known by those who were close to him) was born in Athens, Greece to Mary and Stratos Athanassiades where he graduated from Athens College. He came to the United States on a Fulbright scholarship to attend Princeton University, graduating with a degree in math with the class of 1961. His volunteer work included his role as chairman of the New York Blood Center; chairman of the Alzheimer's Association of New York Memory Walk and as trustee and vice chairman of the Gennadius Library of the American School of Classical studies. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the Gennadius Library in Athens, care of the American School of Classical Studies, 6-8 Charlton Street, Princeton, NJ, 08540. A memorial will be held at a later date.
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Published in The New York Times on Feb. 20, 2014