Robert Benmosche & Harvey Golub
The gig: The AIG repairmen.
Their résumés: Benmosche, the new president and CEO, was the CEO of MetLife for eight years, until 2006; he oversaw the company’s IPO and $11.5 billion acquisition of Traveler’s from Citigroup. Golub, the new chairman, was chairman and CEO of American Express from 1993 to 2001, during which time shares of the company increased sixfold. Earlier, he was a director at McKinsey & Co.
Their mission: Keep AIG afloat, save (or sell) the parts that work, rebrand what’s left, and repay the government, which owns nearly 80 percent of the company.
Their challenge: Benmosche needs to raise some serious cash, through IPOs and asset sales. But his position has already been complicated by the fact that AIG has been exploring the sale of some of its assets to MetLife, in which he remains a major shareholder. Golub’s in charge of disentangling AIG from the more than $80 billion in loans it must repay to the government.
The gig: Governor Paterson’s nominee to lead the MTA
His résumé: He spent twelve years at the MTA, climbing from financial analyst to CFO. He then served as managing director for finance and planning at Transport for London, where he helped win the city the 2012 Olympics.
His mission: Trying to keep the trains running on time while completing ventures like the Second Avenue subway and the 7-line extension. “We know what happened in the seventies, when we failed to maintain and renew the system,” he says. “And we certainly can’t go back to that. But adding on the new building projects at the same time is a tough task.”
His challenges: Explaining all of this to mutinous riders while juggling the numbers (and likely cutbacks). “One of the things that struck me upon returning and engaging in discussions with the governor’s office was the need to restore the MTA’s credibility,” Walder says. But first he has to be confirmed by the State Senate.
The gig: Hunting Madoffs-in-the-making as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
His résumé: As an assistant U.S. Attorney, he prosecuted the Colombo and Gambino crime families. As chief counsel for Senator Schumer on the Judiciary Committee, he helped lead the investigation into the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys by the Bush Justice Department, resulting in the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
His mission: Prosecuting white-collar criminals. One clue to his intentions: He promoted Raymond Lohier, who helped prosecute Marc Dreier, and Boyd Johnson, who previously headed the office’s public-corruption unit, which helped bring the case against the prostitution ring to which Eliot Spitzer was linked. “Preet is very much somebody from the Southern District and not from the executive part of Washington,” says Daniel Richman, a former assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District, now a professor at Columbia Law. “Having close ties to Senator Schumer gives him a degree of insulation from Washington that I think will promote the Southern District’s semi-autonomy in the future.”
His challenges: Deciding who was criminal and who was just stupid. “Certainly there’s this feeling out there that heavy-duty while-collar cases will be coming fast and furiously in the near future,” says Richman. Bharara will likely feel pressured to prosecute not just cases that, like Madoff’s, are instances of clear-cut criminal activity, but pursue ones in which the illegality of the indiscretions is harder to decipher. “Figuring out the extent to which—and there might not be any extent to which—Bear Stearns and Lehman were involved in illegal activities is something that the public expects the government to roll up its sleeves and get moving on,” Richman says. “Prosecutors have to look for criminal activity and at the very least be careful to distinguish between economic stupidity and recklessness and fraud.”