New AIG chief pay $6,999,999 too high

It is stunning that the government, which owns 85% of AIG, and its board would give the new chief such a rich package.

By MSN Money Aug 18, 2009 5:28PM

American International Group (AIG) has already taken $180 billion of taxpayer money and there is absolutely no reason to believe that most of it will be returned. The insurance company is still losing money, and its efforts to sell off units to raise capital have been pathetic.

 

Ed Liddy, former chief executive of Allstate (ALL), was AIG’s chief for the last year. He was brought in by the government to help work out the mess. He was repaid by regular beatings from Congress over AIG management compensation set before he arrived. He worked for $1 a year.

 

AIG’s new CEO will not be so generous. After making tens of millions of dollars at MetLife (MET), where he was chief executive, he will now make at least $7 million over the next year running the ruined financial firm. Robert Benmosche clearly does not have a community-minded bone in his body.

 

It is stunning that the government, which owns 85% of AIG, and its board would give the new chief such a rich package. The Administration and its pay czar are fighting extravagant pay packages on Wall Street. Now they turn around and overpay a man with the job of dismantling a large company.

 

The government would like to press its image as populist by beating down bankers on the pay issue. It has, in one act, undermined its moral authority on the issue. Surely it could have found one rich former insurance executive to run AIG as a contribution to the turnaround of the financial system.

 

Top Stocks blogger Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.

 

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