Before Edward Liddy stepped down from his posts as chairman and chief executive officer of American International Group Inc., he told employees that the company is undergoing a rebirth, not a breakup.

Liddy, the former head of Allstate Corp., Northbrook, Ill., who became AIG’s CEO in September 2008, around the time the government ended up with a 79.9% interest in the financially strapped firm, writes in letter to employees sent Friday that he is returning to retirement with “$1, a few bruises and a feeling of hard-earned accomplishment.”

The bruises are the result of the battering Liddy received from congressional critics and New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo when AIG, New York, gave out big bonuses to many executives, including executives in the firm’s disastrously unsuccessful AIG Financial Products unit.

AIG paid Liddy only $1 in annual salary, but the company reported in May that he received $460,411 in work-related benefits and reimbursement payments in 2008.

The total includes $47,578 to pay for air commutes from Liddy’s Chicago home to AIG’s New York headquarters; $38,368 for a New York apartment; $31,348 for car service; and $180,431 for taxes, according to a report AIG filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

AIG also paid Liddy’s attorney $162,686 for work “to develop appropriate compensation structures for Liddy and other AIG senior employees in the current circumstances.”

Liddy announced his plans to retire from AIG in May. Robert Benmosche, a former chairman of MetLife Inc., New York, succeeded Lidday as president and CEO. Harvey Golub, an AIG board member and former chairman of American Express Company, New York, is the company’s new chairman.

The day Liddy left, AIG reported its first profitable quarter since 2007.