Poor Robert Benmosche. He may be getting paid more than departing AIG CEO Ed Liddy (he has reportedly negotiated a pay package of $7-$10 million a year, as opposed to his predecessor’s measly $1) and has yet to put in his first congressional appearance, but he’s already getting abused in other ways. In an otherwise complimentary profile this morning, the Journal managed to refer to Benmosche’s girth at least four different ways.
1. “At MetLife, he was known to call managers many levels down the chain of command to ferret out information, starting the conversation, ‘Hi, it’s Bob.’” Niceness = joviality = fat.
2. When he was put in charge of the insurer’s sales force in 1996, “the first thing he did was go around the country and have town meetings with all the salespeople and managers,” recalls Harry Kamen, Mr. Benmosche’s predecessor as MetLife’s head. “He didn’t go into his big office and close his door.” Emphasis ours, because, obviously.
3. “While Mr. Benmosche’s blunt style may hearken back to Mr. Greenberg, the new CEO was viewed more as a bull in a china shop at times at MetLife, not the intimidating monarch that some saw in Mr. Greenberg.” Next to him, Hank Greenberg is a delicate butterfly.
4. Then they just say it: “Mr. Benmosche is ‘kind of a big fellow’ with ‘a strong voice and a strong mind,’ Mr. Kamen says.”
Hopefully, he is strong enough to weather these schoolyard taunts. We all know Liddy wasn’t.