American International Group is a smaller, more focused company, which has returned to its insurance roots, the chief executive said in a televised interview Wednesday, during which he also addressed recent departures of key executives.
“This group doesn’t agree with the one AIG strategy we have—to make this company more integrated and working more as a team,” said Robert Benmosche, CEO of AIG, addressing a question about the recent news that four AIG business leaders left to start up an excess-and-surplus lines unit at Berkshire Hathaway.
The four executives were: Peter Eastwood, CEO of AIG Property Casualty in the Americas; David Bresnahan, president of Lexington Insurance; David Fields, head of global casualty for AIG; and Sanjay Godhwani, president for Latin America and the Caribbean for AIG Property Casualty.
Speaking on the occasion of AIG’s annual meeting during an interview televised on CNBC with reporter Mary Thompson, Benmosche further explained the core strategy, suggesting that the quartet was not on board with it.
“We can’t have these individual businesses anymore because they are too many and they’re too big,” he continued.
“We have a lot of respect for the different brands of AIG, but we have to work together as a partnership more than ever before.”
(Editor’s Note: Back in 2009, Peter Eastwood, one of the departing executives—who was CEO of AIG’s Lexington Insurance Company at the time—stressed the efforts of Lexington management to create a more collaborative culture in a published interview with Carrier Management’s senior editor.)
“We’re going to lose people from time to time,” Benmosche added, noting that only 70 of 1,100 executives “at the very top of the leadership” team left in 2012, and that 45 percent of those leaders have been with AIG for more than a decade.
Addressing the question of whether AIG was a better company now than when Benmosche joined in 2009, he said, AIG today “is a smaller more focused company” in contrast to the “very large and very complex organization” it was then.