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Disgusted with Greenberg's pastures

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Will someone, anyone, just say sorry? I was disgusted by Elliot Spitzer’s run at Hank Greenberg, but not because it wasn’t warranted. It was the irresponsible and unprofessional — dare we say rabid — manner in which the country’s most famous John went after him. We didn’t get much better in AG Cuomo, but at least he’s not meeting hookers in hotel rooms (which, unfortunately, is all that really qualifies him as “better”).

I understand Greenberg didn’t technically hold the AIG reins when it all went to hell, but to say his fingerprints aren’t on the train wreck requires a willful suspension of disbelief. He ran the place for 40 years. One of the rubs against him is that the AIG model worked for so long because he directly controlled so much. Once he left, delegation was required, and that’s when the lid popped. He might not have been there for the heyday of the firm’s credit default swap business, but to say he knew nothing, and didn’t actively encourage, the company’s ramp-up in CDS business is simply ridiculous. As for his suggestions on how to turn it around (what?):

“My approach focuses on reconstructing and sustaining AIG so that it will in the future be a healthy and vibrant company once again,” Greenberg told a House committee. “Let me be clear: AIG’s business model did not fail — its management did.”

Yeah, ain’t that the truth.


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