'I Don't Liquidate Things. I Build Them.' Benmosche at AIG, $182 Billion Later

Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Robert Benmosche, chief executive officer of American International Group Inc., his battle with cancer and AIG's succession planning. Benmosche, who is stepping down this weekend after five years as AIG's CEO, said he learned in May that he had nine months to a year to live. He speaks with Betty Liu on Bloomberg Television's "In the Loop." (Source: Bloomberg)

Robert Benmosche is stepping down as American International Group Inc.’s chief executive officer this weekend after a five-year tenure in which he repaid the insurer’s U.S. bailout and battled cancer.

Below is a timeline of noteworthy events in a career at New York-based AIG marked by clashes with the board and public officials, asset sales and a share rebound that beat the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Aug. 3, 2009: AIG says Benmosche, the former leader of MetLife Inc., will come out of retirement to run the company. He replaces Edward Liddy who took over in 2008 when AIG got a U.S. rescue that swelled to $182.3 billion. Shares close at $11.39.

Aug. 4, 2009: Benmosche tells staff he won’t be rushed into asset sales to help repay the U.S. “I don’t liquidate things, I build them,” he says.

Aug. 11, 2009: Benmosche, in his second day as CEO, tells employees that the insurer needs to slow the pace of unwinding derivatives contracts. “I don’t want to feed Goldman Sachs’s bonus pool anymore,” he says. “I want to feed ours. In order to do that, you’ve got to stop giving this stuff away.”

Aug. 20, 2009: Benmosche propels AIG’s stock 21 percent higher to $27.06, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index jumps 1.1 percent, as he tells Bloomberg News during a vacation in Croatia that says he expects to meet obligations to the U.S. and may “be able to do something for our shareholders as well.”

Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Robert Benmosche, president and chief executive officer of American International Group Inc. (AIG), speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. Close

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Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Robert Benmosche, president and chief executive officer of American International Group Inc. (AIG), speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014.

Aug. 31, 2009: AIG says Benmosche “regrets his comments” as Bloomberg News reports that he told employees that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo acted like a “criminal” for drawing attention to traders who got retention bonuses at the unit where losses required a bailout.

Nov. 11, 2009: Benmosche tells staff he is “totally committed” to leading the insurer after the Wall Street Journal reported that he told the board he may step down because of government limits on what the company can pay his managers.

Dec. 22, 2009: Benmosche has halted preparations for an initial public offering of AIG’s property-casualty unit because he considers the business a core holding, Bloomberg reports.

Feb. 8, 2010: Peter Hancock, a former banker, is hired by New York-based AIG to oversee finance and risk.

March 1, 2010: AIG announces a deal to sell AIA Group Ltd. to Prudential Plc for about $35.5 billion after Benmosche decides against holding an IPO for the unit.

April 1, 2010: Benmosche says he expects to remain for another year or two.

Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Robert Benmosche is stepping down as American International Group Inc.’s chief executive officer this weekend after a five-year tenure in which he repaid the insurer’s U.S. bailout and battled cancer. Close

Robert Benmosche is stepping down as American International Group Inc.’s chief... Read More

Close
Open
Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Robert Benmosche is stepping down as American International Group Inc.’s chief executive officer this weekend after a five-year tenure in which he repaid the insurer’s U.S. bailout and battled cancer.

June 1, 2010: Prudential deal collapses after Benmosche refused a request for a lower price. AIG falls 3.2 percent to $28.69.

July 1, 2010: Benmosche has threatened to resign unless Chairman Harvey Golub leaves, Bloomberg News says, reporting that the board had pushed to accept a reduced offer for AIA.

July 14, 2010: Golub steps down, saying it’s easier to find a new chairman than replace a CEO.

Oct. 22, 2010: AIG holds the first of four public offerings for AIA shares. The divestitures raise about $35 billion.

Oct. 25, 2010: AIG says Benmosche has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing “aggressive” chemotherapy.

March 30, 2011: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York rebuffs a $15.7 billion bid by Benmosche to repurchase mortgage-backed securities that were turned over as part of the bailout. The district bank opts to instead auction blocks of assets, some of which are subsequently bought by AIG.

May 5, 2011: AIG lays out “aspirational goals” for 2015, such as a 10 percent return on equity, as the company seeks to replace government support with private capital.

May 24, 2011: The U.S. Treasury Department cuts its stake to 77 percent from 92 percent in its first sale of AIG stock. The offering raises $8.7 billion for the U.S and the insurer.

Feb. 29, 2012: Benmosche says AIG benefited from ‘a certain stubbornness’’ as it repaid bailout funds. “We are here because we just don’t give up,” Benmosche says in a letter to investors.

Nov. 1, 2012: Benmosche tells regulators that AIG won’t contest a designation as a systemically important financial institution, a label that can lead to tighter capital rules. “We welcome supervision by the Federal Reserve,” he writes in a letter.

Dec. 11, 2012: The U.S. Treasury completes its exit of AIG shares in a public offering, and taxpayers’ overall profit on the bailout climbs to more than $22 billion.

April 19, 2013: AIG has warned some staff against buying New York-area homes as the CEO works to cut costs, Bloomberg News reports.

May 14: 2013: Benmosche says AIG has “plenty of time” to meet a goal of completing the sale of International Lease Finance Corp. to a Chinese investor Group by the end of the quarter.

June 4, 2013: “Whether this deal will get done or not, we don’t know,” Benmosche says of ILFC. The agreement with the Chinese group over the plane-leasing unit eventually fails.

Oct. 11, 2013: Benmosche apologizes to U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings, former head of the Congressional Black Caucus, for remarks that the CEO made to the Wall Street Journal comparing public uproar over AIG bonus payments to mob behavior “with their pitch forks and their hangman nooses” in the U.S. Deep South decades ago.

Nov. 1, 2013: AIG declines the most in a year, to $48.28, after saying it may fail to meet some of its 2015 goals.

Feb. 20, 2014: AIG says that Benmosche plans to remain CEO until the first quarter of 2015.

May 14, 2014: AerCap Holdings NV buys ILFC for $7.6 billion in cash and stock as AIG concludes its effort of more than five years to narrow the company’s focus.

June 10, 2014: AIG says Benmosche will be replaced Sept. 1 by Hancock, who is being promoted to CEO from head of the property-casualty unit. The stock closes at $55.01.

Aug. 24, 2014: Benmosche tells Bloomberg Television’s Betty Liu that the prognosis for his cancer had worsened around the time his retirement was announced.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zachary Tracer in New York at ztracer1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net Dan Reichl

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