Walter B. Gerken, former CEO of Pacific Life Insurance, dies at 93

Walter B. Gerken, the former chief executive of Pacific Life Insurance Co. who helped create Newport Beach investment management giant Pimco, has died. He was 93.

It was under Gerken’s leadership that Pacific Investment Management Co. was established as a subsidiary of Pacific Life, the insurance firm said in a statement. Pimco’s flagship bond fund eventually became the world’s largest, guided by now-departed co-founder Bill Gross. Pimco spun off from Pacific Life in 1994.

Gerken joined Pacific Life in 1967 and headed the insurance giant from 1975 to 1986, a period when the company nearly quadrupled in size, hitting $5.5 billion in assets. He was also “very influential” in the decision to move Pacific Life from Los Angeles to Newport Beach in the early 1970s, the company said.


Born Aug. 14, 1922, in New York, Gerken was also prominent in the civic realm.

He had served on the boards of the Orange County Performing Arts Center, United Way of America and Times Mirror Co., former owner of the Los Angeles Times.

His death Oct. 5 at his Newport Beach home from natural causes was confirmed by family.

He is survived by six children and 14 grandchildren.

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