Thomas Tizzio, AIG’s ‘Right Hand’ to CEO Greenberg, Dies at 77

Thomas Tizzio
Thomas Tizzio. Photographer: Stephen J. Boitano/Getty Images

Thomas Tizzio, a retired vice chairman of American International Group Inc. who was once seen as a possible successor to its former chief executive officer, Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, has died. He was 77.

He died Oct. 20 of pancreatic cancer at his home in Middletown, New Jersey, his son Vincent Tizzio said in a telephone interview.

Tizzio was with New York-based AIG, once the world’s largest insurer, for 38 years. He was president of the company from 1991 to 1997.

“In many ways, Tom was my right hand when I was first starting AIG.” Greenberg said Thursday in a statement. “I am saddened by his passing.”

Tizzio was named vice chairman in 1997 when Greenberg appointed his son, Evan Greenberg, president.

Hank Greenberg dominated AIG for decades and speculation among analysts over who might succeed him was common. Evan Greenberg, another son, Jeffrey Greenberg, and several other top executives were all considered contenders. Maurice Greenberg left in 2005 amid an accounting scandal and was replaced as CEO by Martin Sullivan.

Thomas Ralph Tizzio was born Jan. 9, 1938, in Elmont, New York, on Long Island, to Anthony Tizzio, a sanitation worker, and the former Anna Pasqual, a seamstress and homemaker. He grew in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.

Early Career

Tizzio received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Brooklyn College in 1962. He worked at New York-based insurance companies W.J. Roberts & Co. and the Atlantic Mutual Insurance Co., his son said.

In 1967, he joined AIG’s American Home Assurance unit as an inland marine underwriter.

Tizzio was named a director of AIG in 1986 and in 2003 became an honorary director, a title he kept after retiring as senior vice chairman of general insurance, in 2006.

After Greenberg left AIG in 2005, Tizzio was named in two lawsuits, one filed by Greenberg against AIG contending that Greenberg’s firm, C.V. Starr & Co., was owed “hundreds of millions of dollars in profits and benefits,” according to a 2007 article in Insurance Journal. Tizzio was later dropped from the litigation.

In the second lawsuit, Tizzio agreed to pay $1.25 million as part of a $115 million settlement of a 2002 shareholder lawsuit, according to an account by the Associated Press.

In addition to his son, Tizzio’s survivors include his wife, the former Mary Ann Gentile, and two other sons, Anthony and Thomas, and seven grandchildren.

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