Mehran Assadi has been designated the next president and chief executive officer of National Life Group (NLGroup), the company’s Board of Directors announced on Tuesday.Assadi, currently president of NLGroup’s life and annuity division, will succeed Thomas H. MacLeay, who is retiring Dec. 31 as president and CEO. MacLeay will remain as Chairman of the Board.David Coates, the lead independent director on the board and chairman of the search committee, said Assadi has been instrumental in developing and executing a strategy of success for the life and annuity division.”Mehran is a proven leader,” said Coates. “He brings energy, enthusiasm and optimism to every assignment he is given. We believe Mehran is the best person to build on Tom’s tremendous record of accomplishment.”National Life Group, a Fortune 1000 company with combined 2007 revenues of $1.4 billion, serves the financial needs of more than 700,000 customers. NLGroup includes its flagship company, National Life Insurance Company, founded in Montpelier in 1848; Life Insurance Company of the Southwest in Dallas, Texas, and Sentinel Investments, Equity Services, Inc. and National Retirement Plan Advisors, all based in Montpelier.Assadi, 50, joined NLGroup in 2003 and was named president of the life and annuity division two years later. He oversees the life and annuity profit centers, which include sales and distribution as well as product development, new business, marketing, underwriting and customer service.”Mehran understands what makes National Life special: our history, our heritage, our mutual structure, our focus on the individual and our unwavering commitment to deliver on the promises we make,” said MacLeay. “Mehran also appreciates what we need to do to remain strong and competitive in tomorrow’s marketplace.”Assadi said that being named chief executive officer is an honor. “National Life is more than a company,” he said. “It is a jewel.””I feel privileged to be asked to lead National Life Group, especially as we mark the 160th anniversary of the founding of National Life Insurance Company,” he said.Assadi will only be the 16th person to serve as chief executive in the 160 years since National Life Insurance Co. was chartered. MacLeay has served as president for 11 years and as CEO and chairman for six years.Prior to joining National Life Group, Assadi served as executive vice president, chief marketing officer and chief information officer at Provident Mutual in Newark, Delaware. Previously he served for 16 years in various senior positions with United States Fidelity and Guaranty of Baltimore.A graduate of Towson University, Assadi has a Master’s in Management Information Systems from the University of Baltimore.Assadi and his wife Janet have three sons, Anthony, Jordan, and Ryan.