Edward Liddy, chairman of American International Group Inc., has told the AIG board that he will step down when the board finds a successor.

Liddy, 63, who is chief executive officer of AIG, New York, as well as chairman, has recommended that the company separate the roles and install a more permanent leadership team and leadership structure, the company says.

Liddy will be stepping down from his position on the AIG board and the CEO post as well the post of chairman, and the board has agreed to conduct separate searches to fill each position, AIG says.

The government now owns a 79.9% stake in AIG. A trustee of the AIG Credit Facility Trust, a body formed to oversee the government’s stake in AIG, said earlier this month that the trust was encouraging AIG to nominate more independent directors. Earlier this week, AIG said it will be nominating 6 new independent directors.

When AIG shareholders elect the company’s new board in June, the reconstituted board and the AIG Credit Facility Trust trustees will participate in the search, AIG says

“Much work remains to be done at AIG, but much has already been accomplished,” Liddy says in a statement about his decision to leave AIG. Liddy notes that AIG has worked with government agencies to develop a plan to repay the American taxpayers for their assistance and is implementing the plan.

“As we have noted repeatedly, our pace of success will depend on global economic conditions and financial markets,” Liddy says. “It is likely to take several years. AIG should have a leadership team committed to a similar time horizon and prepared to carry the plan to completion.”

Liddy took over from Robert Willumstad as chairman and CEO of AIG Sept. 18, 2008. From 1999 to 2005, Liddy was CEO of Allstate Corp., Northbrook, Ill.