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Former MetLife CEO expected to lead AIG

American International Group Inc. is expected to name Robert Benmosche as its new CEO, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

American International Group Inc. named former MetLife Inc. chairman and CEO Robert Benmosche Monday as its new president and chief executive.

Benmosche, 65, will replace CEO Edward Liddy, former CEO of Allstate Corp., who took over last fall after the government bailed out the New York-based insurer.

In May, Liddy said he would step down from the chairman and CEO roles at AIG. His announcement came at the same time the company said it would split the roles of chairman and chief executive, similar to what many other financial firms have done in recent months. The company has said he would remain chairman until a successor is found.

AIG said Benmosche, who is also joining the company’s board, will take his new positions next Monday, Aug. 10.

“On the surface, if AIG is going to turn around its insurance business, it sounds like they are pulling from a place that there is talent,” said Russell Walker, a risk management professor at Northwestern University in Chicago.

Benmosche joined MetLife in 1995 and became the New York-based insurer’s CEO in 1998. During his tenure, he led the transition of MetLife from a mutual company to a public company in 2000. Benmosche retired as CEO in March 2006 and as chairman later that year.

During the credit crisis last fall, the U.S. government rescued AIG from the brink of collapse with a loan bailout package worth up to $182.5 billion. The government now owns roughly 80 percent of the huge insurer. AIG is now shedding assets and cutting costs as it restructures.

Benmosche will be taking over a company in flux, as AIG continues to restructure itself as a means to repay the government loan.

In recent months AIG has moved forward with plans to spin off three different divisions and has been selling assets.

Separately, AIG said its chief restructuring officer, Paula Rosput Reynolds, has decided to leave the company, effective sometime during the third quarter.

Shares of AIG closed up 49 cents, or 3.7 percent, at $13.63.