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AIG Names Hamilton's Brian Duperreault Seventh CEO Since 2005

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(Bloomberg) — American International Group Inc. named Brian Duperreault, one of the most experienced managers in the property-casualty insurance industry, to be the company’s seventh chief executive officer since 2005 and improve results at the operation selling coverage to commercial clients.

Duperreault, who spent time at AIG earlier in his career, will begin his role immediately, the New York-based insurer said Monday in a statement. He is stepping down as CEO of Hamilton Insurance Group and succeeds Peter Hancock, who said in March he would depart AIG amid insufficient support from investors.

(Related: AIG CEO Peter Hancock to step down: What’s next?)

The new CEO will seek to bring stability to AIG, which has endured the departure of top executives, higher-than-expected claims costs and four losses in seven quarters. Before joining Hamilton, he was CEO of insurance broker Marsh & McLennan Cos., where he helped revive confidence of investors and clients. He also led Ace Ltd., which is now known as Chubb Ltd. and is one of AIG’s largest rivals.

“What Duperreault brings is not only a background in restructuring within property-and-casualty, but stature within the industry and a proven track record for being able to attract talent,” Ryan Tunis, an analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG said by phone last week. Bloomberg reported in late April that AIG was weighing a plan to hire Duperreault.

Duperreault, 70, previously was a deputy at AIG to longtime leader Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, who built the company into the largest insurer in the world before departing in 2005. Duperreault helped create Hamilton in 2013 with backing from principals of hedge fund firm Two Sigma Investments. Former Citigroup Inc. CEO Sanford “Sandy” Weill had a stint as Hamilton’s chairman and remained a shareholder when he stepped down from the board.

‘Excellent Grasp’

Duperreault “has an excellent grasp of the global insurance industry and he has proven to be a real innovator over many decades,” Weill said in an email. “He views change as creating opportunities, and I really believe that we will see good things from AIG as a result of Brian’s leadership.”

Hamilton focused on data analytics with Two Sigma to help decide which insurance risks to take, and how much to charge for them. The company formed a venture last year with AIG to provide coverage to small-and medium-sized businesses.

Duperreault will be expected to improve return on equity, and also boost AIG’s stock price. The company has slumped 6.6% since Dec. 31, while the S&P 500 Index has climbed 6.8%.

He will need to decide the right size for AIG, which has been shrinking for years through asset sales. Activist investor Carl Icahn sought a breakup when he disclosed a stake in AIG in late 2015, and the billionaire has representation on the insurer’s board. Chairman Doug Steenland said earlier this year that a split would compromise the company’s global reach, and that the plan is to continue returning capital to shareholders and cutting expenses.

AIG has returned more than $18 billion to shareholders since Hancock announced in early 2015 that he had a two-year target for $25 billion. AIG has struck reinsurance deals to limit risks at the P&C operation, and the company has sold $91 billion worth of assets since he joined in 2010. Recently, the insurer has exited some operations in Brazil, Turkey, Japan and the U.K., while also divesting a mortgage guarantor.

Hancock became CEO in 2014.

— Read Court Rejects Greenberg Firm’s AIG Case on ThinkAdvisor.