Brian Duperreault

Brian Duperreault, American International Group’s CEO since May, is trying to get the word out that the struggling insurer is a great place to work again.

His predecessor, Peter Hancock, slashed jobs and sold off divisions in order to cut costs and boost shareholder returns. But Duperreault, speaking during AIG’s Q2 2017 earnings call on Aug. 3, said he wants to focus, in part, on rebuilding the struggling insurer’s formerly deep bench of talent.

“I heard many concerns about talent before I arrived,” he said. “There is no question AIG lost talent, but it was also blessed with a strong bench. The job now is to rebuild that bench.”

The reality now, Duperreault said, is “we are regaining our positions as the best company to work for in our industry. I am going to take full advantage of that as a net acquirer of talent.”

Duperreault said that AIG has already taken two big steps in that direction, hiring Marsh CEO Peter Zaffino as executive vice president and global chief operating officer, and Hamilton USA CEO Seraina Macia as an executive vice president and leader of a new planned subsidiary that will focus on technological transformation of the insurer’s commercial insurance business.

That planned subsidiary will be based around what is now Hamilton USA, which Macia has been running and AIG will be acquiring in a deal announced when Duperreault became CEO of AIG in May.

Duperreault once again also made clear that AIG is shopping for some good acquisition targets, companies that can help AIG diversify, improve how it functions and grow, as well as bring new talent to the insurer.

“We will look for acquisitions of complementary areas,” Duperreault said during the call. “We will consider opportunities that are additives with respect to diversification and balance they bring to our portfolio and capabilities, [as well as] future profitable growth.”

A priority is to find acquisitions that will improve the way AIG conducts business, Duperreault said.

“I am going to be primarily looking for strategic balance that gives us ways to deploy capital [for acquisitions] when the things we do have had issues,” he added.

Rather than look for a larger transformational acquisition, Duperreault said that AIG will be keeping its eye out for smaller companies.

“I wouldn’t mind doing both, but if you’re playing odds, you have a better chance of doing a series of acquisitions than one large one,” he said.”