Soon after his election in January 1994 as president and chief executive officer of Manulife Financial, Dominic D'Alessandro began work with Merrimack Associates on a study of strategic options for the company. Although the study had been commissioned by the Chairman of the Board before D'Alessandro's arrival, it had not yet progressed beyond its initial stages. D'Alessandro therefore had an unusual opportunity to set Manulife's strategic direction early in his administration. Furthermore, although D'Alessandro was a seasoned chief executive officer with extensive experience in financial services, the insurance business was a new challenge for him. He could bring a fresh perspective to a review of Manulife's product line positions and prospects.