American Equity Investment Life Holding Co. said today it has named William Kunkel as its executive vice president. He will be the West Des Moines company's legal and general counsel. Kunkel was a partner in the Chicago office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP until his retirement in June 2012, according to a news release. His practice concentrated on mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and other corporate governance and securities matters. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Creighton University.