After Hank Greenberg left AIG, the insurer was forced into the arms of one terrible suitor after another. There was Martin Sullivan, who spent three years treating the company like his bitch before running off with a $47 million retirement package, never to be seen again, except for like one mandatory hearing in front of the House Financial Services committee. After him, there was the milquetoast Robert Willumstad, who basically did nothing but drink beer and watch TV for three months before the government brought in Edward Liddy. Liddy seemed nice, but he was weak. He couldn’t hack it. Couldn’t deal with all of AIG’s baggage. And ultimately he, too, ran back to retirement. Robert Benmosche, the CEO who took over for him in August, pledged to be different.
That’s no way to treat a company, he said at the annual shareholders meeting in August. You don’t just selfishly cut and run after a short period of time, leaving them there all violated and down on their knees, desperate, hoping the next guy will save them, knowing that in reality he will probably violate them ten ways till Tuesday, just like the others. “I’m going to be here for more than six months,” he promised.
“I’m going to be here until I get it right, and you’re all comfortable it’s right. So it’s not a question of I’m here for a year, two years and then I’m going back to my retirement.”
But now, it’s looking like those may have been empty promises — that Benmosche, unfortunately, is just like the rest of them. According to Bloomberg, in a recent interview, the CEO indicated he was already eying the door.
He will “be around for a year or two more, and then after that the question would be working with the board on how best to deal with succession,” he said.
Are there no good CEOs left?