Called on to turn around the world's largest insurance company, AIG, which had greatly contributed to a near-complete breakdown of the financial system, former president and CEO Benmosche chronicles how he paid back what the country was owed.
This is a story from the front lines by a corporate warrior who thought of himself as someone who “get[s] the job done”—and repeatedly proved that he could. Up against opponents and critics within the company, government, and other corporations, the author tells how he steered a course among those who wanted to liquidate divisions of AIG as quickly as possible, and he recounts the battles he had to fight to ensure the company's continued viability. He drew on executive experience gained from his previous leadership posts at MetLife, Paine Webber, and Chase Manhattan as well as a stint in the Army. This memoir complements former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s The Courage to Act (2015) and Maurice Greenberg’s The AIG Story (2013), but Benmosche does not retell how the great crisis of 2007-2008 came about. His subject is the aftermath and what it took to save AIG from bankruptcy, restore viability, and repay “the astronomical $182 billion in bailout funds it owed the taxpayers.” The author was recalled from retirement in the middle of the political crisis caused by the revelation that the company was sticking by its bonus policy even though “it had burned through four CEOs in four years.” It did not take him long to discover that no one in the company really knew how big the financial problem was, the full “magnitude of the mess.” The center was AIG's Financial Products division, which had sold the financial derivatives that nearly sank everything else. Ultimately, Benmosche overcame opposition from within and without as he brought the company back to solvency.
A no-holds-barred account of what it takes to succeed at the highest levels.