(Bloomberg) — The leadership transition at insurer American International Group Inc. is like switching generals after winning a war, AIG Chairman Steve Miller said on Tuesday.
“We’re changing generals as we move from wartime to peacetime,” Miller, 72, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Betty Liu.
Peter Hancock, 56, yesterday replaced Robert Benmosche, who departed after five years as chief executive officer of New York-based AIG. Benmosche, 70, started at the insurer less than a year after the firm’s 2008 taxpayer bailout, which swelled to $182.3 billion. AIG finished repaying the rescue in 2012.
Miller said today that he learned from Benmosche “the power of great leadership, even in the most disastrous of circumstances.”
AIG in June announced Benmosche’s plans to depart. Around that time, the prognosis for the CEO’s cancer had worsened, hastening his decision to step down, Benmosche told Liu on Aug. 24. As CEO, Benmosche oversaw divestitures of foreign insurance units and AIG’s plane-leasing business, helping focus the firm on sales of property-casualty coverage globally and life and retirement products in the U.S.
In a memo today, Hancock said AIG is sticking with that strategy, while making some changes to how it evaluates employee performance. Hancock most recently led AIG’s property-casualty unit, where he emphasized profitability over growth, scaling back from some less-lucrative coverage, such as workers’ compensation. He’s pushing to expand in consumer lines such as car insurance and travel and health policies.