AIG Hires Wyman’s Sankaran as Chief Risk Officer

American International Group Inc. hired Sid Sankaran, a partner at consulting firm Oliver Wyman, as chief risk officer as the bailed-out insurer works to regain independence from the U.S.

Sankaran headed Oliver Wyman’s Toronto office and conducted studies of insurers, banks and securities firms to assess risk, New York-based AIG said today in a statement. He replaces Robert Lewis, who said in June that the insurer underestimated the danger of subprime loans and is stepping down afater about 17 years at AIG.

Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche, 66, is bringing in new managers as he sells units to help repay the $182.3 billion rescue required after the company miscalculated the risk of derivatives tied to the housing market. Sankaran will report to Peter Hancock, who was hired in February as executive vice president to oversee finance and risk.

“Sankaran comes to AIG with the broad-ranging risk management experience that an enterprise of this scope must have,” Benmosche said in the statement. “Risk management is crucial.”

Lewis joined AIG in 1993 and was named chief risk officer in 2004. He was part of a management team that presided over almost $100 billion in net losses in 2008.

“We were wrong about how bad things could get,” Lewis told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in June. “What ended up happening was so extreme that it was beyond anything we had planned for.”

Hancock spent about 20 years at a predecessor to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Jung Kim, a spokeswoman for Oliver Wyman, declined to comment. Oliver Wyman is a unit of New York-based insurance broker Marsh & McLennan Cos.

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