Edward Liddy came out of retirement to take charge of AIG thinking he was up for the challenge. But after an ugly congressional hearing (which he called "probably the worst" day of his life, excepting the day his mother died) and a few threats of being strangled with piano wire, he gave notice. Couldn't take the heat, basically. Now, a month before Liddy retreats back into his world of mah-jongg and early-bird specials, the board has found someone who can take care of business: Robert Benmosche, the former CEO of MetLife. Benmosche is a tougher cookie: He represents the Catskills, which if you don't think is tough, well, you've never seen a raccoon on Oxycontin. His dad died when he was 10, leaving his family thousands of dollars in debt, and he paid his own way through college driving a Coca-Cola delivery truck, then spent thirteen months in Korea during Nam. When he started at MetLife back in the nineties, he was not afraid to let some heads roll, even if said heads were senior, beloved, and cartoon:
“I felt it was too much Snoopy,” Mr. Benmosche said in 1999. ”When you talk about Met Life, you say, ‘That’s Snoopy’s company,’ and that’s important. But we also want the ads to begin to remind people why to do business with MetLife.”
So, yeah, we think he can handle the FP unit, and Barney Frank.
A Dossier on AIG’s New Chief Benmosche: The Man Who Downsized Snoopy [Deal Journal/WSJ]