CEO Benmosche Promises He's 'Committed' To Lead AIG

NU Online News Service, Nov. 11, 3:27 p.m. EST

American International Group Chief Executive Robert Benmosche has written company employees telling them he is committed to leading the firm and they should ignore speculation he planned to quit.

His letter followed publication of a Wall Street Journal report today that he had told his board last week he was quitting, and then agreed to reconsider at the board's urging.

The article suggested he was upset since the government, which holds a 79.9 percent interest in the debt-burdened firm, had set restrictions on what executives there could be paid.

Kenneth Feinberg, the executive pay coordinator for the Obama administration, last month slashed payments for AIG's top 25 employees by 91 percent for the remainder of the year.

Mr. Benmosche in his letter addressed possible employee concerns about "news accounts speculating about my frustration with the time and effort it is taking to ensure that our top 100 executives are compensated fairly."

"To be certain, I and the board are indeed frustrated and we are in ongoing discussions with Treasury and the Special Master to resolve the uncertainty surrounding this issue. However, as I have said before, the vast majority of AIG employees are unaffected by this issue."

However, he wrote that he and the board "remain totally committed to leading AIG through its challenges and to continuing to fight on your behalf. We are all working aggressively to overcome this compensation barrier that stands in the way of restoring AIG's value and allowing us to live up to our obligations to all stakeholders: our customers, who have remained loyal; our nearly 100,000 employees, including 46,000 here in the U.S.; our shareholders and creditors."

His letter told employees they were all "doing a great job under difficult circumstances. You have suffered terrible losses--many of you have seen life savings vanish. But you have persevered and we're now seeing progress. Our results for the last two quarters have demonstrated greater stability and our businesses are recovering."

AIG in the third quarter reported net income of $455 million compared to a loss for the period last year. The third-quarter profit was less than the second quarter's $1.8 billion after higher capital losses.

The CEO asked employees "not to be distracted by speculative media stories and to maintain your focus on the important work you are doing. People--you--make AIG strong and successful. I am impressed every day at all that you are accomplishing and I thank you all. I'm proud to have this opportunity to work with you to restore our company."

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