(Bloomberg) -- Evercore Partners Inc., the merger-advisory firm founded by Roger Altman, appointed MetLife Inc.’s William Wheeler to the board amid the boutique bank’s push to strengthen its reach ininsurance.

Evercore increased the size of its board to 10 as it added Wheeler, the New York-based firm said Friday in a filing. He is president of the Americas business at MetLife, the largest U.S. life insurer.

Chief Executive Officer Ralph Schlosstein has sought to bolster Evercore’s role in insurance in an era of increased regulation, low interest rates and industry consolidation. The bank in November hired Thomas Leonardi, Connecticut’s former insurance commissioner, as a senior adviser to work with New York and London teams.

“The insurance industry continues to go through a period of extraordinary challenges,” Leonardi said in a statement when he was appointed.

Evercore has been an adviser to insurance companies including Catlin Group Ltd., which agreed last month to sell itself to XL Group Plc for about $4 billion.

Wheeler, 53, was chief financial officer at New York-based MetLife prior to becoming president of the Americas, the biggest division of the insurer, in 2011. Before joining MetLife, he was an investment banker at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.

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