American International Group Inc. (AIG), the company that repaid a $182.3 billion U.S. bailout last year, hired David May from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to help revive the insurer’s brand.
May, 54, was named to the newly created post of chief marketing officer and reports to Christina Pretto, senior vice president of corporate communications, according to a note she sent to colleagues. May’s team at AIG includes Mark Clowes, who oversees corporate advertising, and Danny Glantz, who handles sponsorships, Pretto wrote in the memo, which was obtained by Bloomberg News.
AIG restored the use of its name in U.S. television ads in 2011 and struck a deal last year to sponsor six New Zealand rugby teams including the All Blacks. The branding revival was a reversal for the New York-based insurer, which focused on the identities of subsidiaries after then-Chief Executive Officer Edward Liddy dismissed the AIG name in 2009 as “wounded and disgraced” by the bailout a year earlier.
“With the financial crisis well behind us, our businesses seek to employ best practices and the power of our global scale as they leverage the AIG brand,” Pretto wrote. The effort will involve “marketing activities aimed at growing sales, expanding distribution channels, and deepening the trust our clients hold in us.”
Robert Benmosche, who took over as CEO in 2009, finished repaying the rescue in 2012 after selling units to help raise funds. This year AIG restored a dividend, the company’s first since 2008 when the insurer was hobbled by losses on bets tied to subprime mortgages.
May worked for 17 years at New York-based Goldman Sachs in posts including director of global brand marketing, according to the memo. He has an MBA from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, according to AIG.
Insurers including Allstate Corp., the largest publicly traded provider of U.S. auto coverage, have been recruiting marketing executives from outside the industry. Northbrook, Illinois-based Allstate last year filled the chief marketing officer post with Sanjay Gupta, who had led rebranding at Ally Financial Inc.’s bank.
Goldman Sachs has also worked to burnish its brand after fending off accusations that the bank’s actions contributed to the financial crisis. The company last year hired former U.S. Treasury Department aide and presidential spokesman Jake Siewert as global head of corporate communications. David Wells, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs, didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.
AIG climbed 0.6 percent to $50.01 at 1:20 p.m. in New York. The insurer has rallied 42 percent this year, beating the 31 percent advance at Goldman Sachs.
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