Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, who spent four decades at American International Group Inc., would consider investing in the insurer he helped build into the world’s largest before the financial crisis, his lawyer David Boies said.
“If they’re selling, I think Hank might be a buyer,” Boies said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.”It’s what he helped create, he’s got enormous loyalty to the employees, many of whom are still there.”
AIG is facing pressure from investors including billionaire Carl Icahn — who wants the company to spin into three different entities — and John Paulson, whose firm believes the insurer could also sell assets. Chief Executive Officer Peter Hancock has struggled to meet profitability targets and has rebuffed Icahn’s separation plan.
Boies supported Hancock, saying a break up wouldn’t make sense. He said activist investors should focus on the long-term vision of the company, and that management should be given a chance to maximize the value of the insurer’s assets.
“As Hank Paulson has said a number of times, this never would have happened if Hank Greenberg had stayed there,” Boies said. “I think he’d like to help in any capacity he could, but he’s not interested in going back and running the company.”
Jon Diat, a spokesman for AIG, declined to comment.
Greenberg, who is now the CEO of CV Starr & Co., has hired Boies as he and a group of shareholders seek damages from the U.S. government tied to the insurer’s 2008 bailout. The package swelled to $182.3 billion, which AIG has since repaid. Boies is helping the investors claim that the company’s equity was wrongfully taken.
Greenberg departed AIG in 2005 after the government alleged the company used tricks to hide losses and boost reserves.