American International Group Inc., the insurer that reinstated a dividend yesterday, will move its headquarters to a building it owns at 175 Water St. in lower Manhattan as the lease expires at a property on Maiden Lane.
“We’re not going very far, literally one block away,” Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche told Bloomberg Television’s Betty Liu in an interview last Friday on the “In the Loop” program.
Benmosche, 69, has worked to simplify AIG and cut costs, after taking over the insurer in 2009 and repaying a U.S. bailout last year. He’s warned employees against buying New York-area homes as he mulls shifting jobs to less expensive locations, and said Friday some positions may move to sites in Texas, the Philippines and Malaysia.
“We’re moving jobs all around where we can get the best workforce at the right price,” Benmosche said. “This is about managing our expenses.”
The Water Street tower would be AIG’s third headquarters in five years. The company was previously based at 70 Pine St., and signed a deal in 2009 to sell that building to help repay the U.S. rescue. The Maiden Lane lease was intended to be temporary, Benmosche said.
There are about 1,900 employees at 180 Maiden Lane and 1,500 at 175 Water St., Jon Diat, an AIG spokesman, said in an e-mail. The company had 63,000 employees as of Dec. 31, compared with about 116,000 at the end of 2008.
SL Green Realty Corp., an owner of 180 Maiden Lane, said it has four or five proposal for blocks of space at the property.
“We’ve got a good, diverse group of tenants looking at the building, at the price points that we’ve been targeting,” Steve Durels, the company’s director of leasing, said on a July 25 conference call with analysts.
AIG plans to move out of 180 Maiden Lane by the start of next year’s second quarter, according to a person with knowledge of the company’s plans who asked not be identified because there was no public announcement on the timing.
AIG gained 2.7 percent today to $48.33 at 4 p.m. in New York, after yesterday announcing its first dividend since payouts were suspended in the financial crisis. The company also said it plans a $1 billion share buyback and reported profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates. The stock has jumped 37 percent this year.
Benmosche said today that AIG is investing in training leaders, and that the company is seeking to expand its business.
“We’re not looking to shrink ourselves into greatness,” he said. “We’re looking to develop ourselves and to grow into a big company, not just worry about cutting expenses.”
Editors: Dan Kraut, Christine Maurus