Bob Benmosche

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Bob Benmosche
Robert Benmosche.JPG
Born Robert Herman Benmosche
(1944-05-29)May 29, 1944
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died February 27, 2015(2015-02-27) (aged 70)
New York, New York, U.S.
Cause of death Lung cancer
Residence Suffern, New York and Boca Raton, Florida
Nationality American
Education B.A. 1966
Alma mater Alfred University
Occupation CEO
Employer AIG
Salary US$13.9 million[citation needed]
Title President/CEO of American International Group
Term August 2009 – August 2014
Predecessor Edward M. Liddy
Political party Libertarian
Spouse(s) Denise Benmosche
Children 2

Robert Herman "Bob" Benmosche (May 29, 1944 – February 27, 2015) was the president and chief executive officer of American International Group (NYSE: AIG).[1] He was appointed President & Chief Executive Officer by the US Department of Treasury and AIG Board of Directors to succeed Edward M. Liddy.[2][3] Benmosche is best known for his leadership at AIG, where he led a turnaround, improved profits 60% year over year, and paid down government aid pledged by the Bush and Obama Administrations.[4][5]

Early life[edit]

Benmosche was born in Brooklyn, New York.[6] Benmosche traced his Jewish lineage back to Lithuania, where his great-grandfather, Moshe Kreiskol, was one of the first Jews to serve in the tsar’s army in the 1830s. Benmosche's grandfather, Rabbi Herman Benmosche moved the family to the US in 1894.[3][7]

Benmosche's father died when Benmosche was 10 years old, leaving him, his three siblings, and his mother with $250,000 in debt, as well as the unfinished Patio Motel in Monticello, New York. The family kept the motel; the young Benmosche did housekeeping, caddying, and operated the switchboard. His first job was when he was a teenage truck driver delivering Coca-Cola.[3] He attended Alfred University. In 1966, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics. From 1966-68, Benmosche served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, serving a tour of duty in Korea in the U.S. Signal Corps where he led the setup of field communications.[3]

Career[edit]

Benmosche began his career when he joined Arthur D. Little and Information Science as a consultant.[3] In 1975, Benmosche joined the Chase Manhattan systems group. In 1982, Benmosche joined Paine Webber to lead the development of Paine Webber's Central Asset Brokerage Account. During his 14-year tenure at Paine Webber, Benmosche gained experience in marketing and operations in different business units, using the knowledge he gained to become Chief Financial Officer of the company's retail business. As his career progressed at Paine Webber, Benmosche continued to gain new responsibilities, eventually earning a promotion to the position of Executive Vice President and Director of Operations, Administration and Technology. In that role, he oversaw the merger of Kidder Peabody’s operations and systems with those of Paine Webber.[3]

MetLife[edit]

Benmosche left Paine Webber to join the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in 1995. He was later promoted to president and Chief Operating Officer, and in November 1997 in his role as COO, oversaw individual and institutional as well as international insurance operations. In 1998 he was named Chairman of the Board and CEO. He retired in 2006.[3][8] During his tenure, he oversaw MetLife's successful transition from mutual company to publicly traded firm.[9]

After being a member of the board of Credit Suisse AG for eleven years, Benmosche retired in April 2013.[9]

Innkeeper and vintner[edit]

Benmosche owned Villa Splendid in Dubrovnik, Croatia. In 2001, Benmosche bought the one-time discothèque and spent the next six years renovating it. In 2006, Benmosche purchased land and imported 1500 Zinfandel plants from Napa Valley, California.[10] In 2011, Benmosche’s vineyard produced 3,000 bottles of wine under The Benmosche Family Dingac label.[3]

AIG Turnaround[edit]

In mid-2009, Benmosche was appointed CEO of American International Group. He assumed that role on August 10 of that year. He was recruited by Jim Millstein who was Chief Restructuring Officer at the US Department of Treasury.[3][11]

During his first meeting with employees, Benmosche stated that Congress was composed of "crazies," that he would not cooperate if asked to testify before Congress, and that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who had investigated AIG, "doesn't deserve to be in government." He later asked for a personal private jet and said that he might quit over government-imposed pay restrictions.[12]

In 2010, Benmosche testified to the Congressional Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) Oversight Panel, on May 26 [8], that AIG would repay the U.S. Government and American taxpayers’ investment in AIG in full, with a profit. “AIG is now on a clear path to repaying taxpayers ... At the end of the day, the U.S. government will make an appropriate profit,” he testified.[13]

Benmosche oversaw the sale of non-core assets in AIG’s portfolio to pay down the $182 billion in government aid.[14][15] Business units such as American Life Insurance Company (Alico), American General Finance, 21st Century Insurance, Nan Shan and AIA were sold.[16][17][18][19][20]

On December 14, 2012, Benmosche announced that the U.S. government and American taxpayers received their full investment in AIG, plus a $22 billion positive return. Benmosche's management has been credited with leading the company to back to profitability, the full repayment to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, reducing the Treasury Department’s stake in AIG to below 20% and the repayment of the 2008 $85 billion federal loan.[21][22]

Illness[edit]

In 2010, Benmosche was diagnosed with lung cancer. He continued to work while also undergoing an aggressive oral chemotherapy regime.[23][24][25]

In an interview with Charlie Rose in December 2012, Benmosche said that he will stay at his current position for two more years.[26] In August 2014, he accelerated the timetable of his retirement from AIG due to the progression of his cancer. Peter Hancock took over the role of CEO on September 1, 2014.[27] Benmosche died on February 27, 2015, in Manhattan, aged 70.[28]

Controversy[edit]

In September 2013, Benmosche gave an interview to The Wall Street Journal in which he compared public outrage over AIG bonuses to the lynching of black Americans, saying the uproar "was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitch forks and their hangman nooses, and all that–sort of like what we did in the Deep South [decades ago]. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong."[29] This was seen as a reference to the $165 million in bonuses paid out in March 2009 to employees of AIG's "financial products" division, which sold the credit derivatives that put AIG deeply in debt after the Lehman Brothers collapse and compelled the Federal Reserve to bail out AIG with an $85 billion loan six months earlier, that eventually ballooned to $182 billion.[30] His comments were labeled offensive by a number of commentators,[31][32] with Congressman Elijah Cummings calling for him to resign; Benmosche later apologized for the remarks.

Honors[edit]

  • Insurance and Technology magazine identified Benmosche as one of the insurance industry's "Tech-Savvy CEOs" in 2010.[33]
  • Benmosche ranked 42nd in Fortune magazine’s Top 50 Business Leaders of 2010.[34]
  • The New York Times DealBook Andrew Ross Sorkin named Benmosche “2010 Executive of the Year”[35]
  • Benmosche ranked #59 of Top 100 CEOs by Harvard Business Review, Jan. 2010.[36]
  • Insurance and Technology magazine names Benmosche 2011 “Mover and Shaker”.[33]
  • The New York Police & Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund named Benmosche as an honoree in 2012.[37]
  • 2013 winner Insurance Hall of Fame [38]

Past Roles[edit]

Benmosche's career included:[39]

  • AIG, CEO from 2009 to 2014
  • Metropolitan Life, CEO from 1998–2006
  • Metropolitan Life, President from 1997–2004
  • Metropolitan Life, EVP Individual Business from 1995–1997
  • PaineWebber, EVP Southern Division Sales Group 1994–1995
  • PaineWebber EVP and Director of Operations, Administration and Technology from 1987–1994
  • PaineWebber, CFO Retail Business from 1986–1987
  • PaineWebber, Senior VP Marketing from 1982–1985
  • Chase Manhattan Bank, VP Technology from 1975–1982
  • Arthur D. Little, Staff Consultant from 1969–1975

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Robert Benmosche: Executive Profile & Biography". investing.businessweek.com. Retrieved June 26, 2012. 
  2. ^ Block, Melissa. "Pay Czar Outlines Compensation Limits". All Things Considered. National Public Radio. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Man Who Saved AIG". barrons.com. Retrieved November 5, 2012. 
  4. ^ Koppenheffer, Matt. "1 Thing to Focus on From AIG's Earnings". Motley Fool. Motley Fool. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  5. ^ Berkowitz, Ben. "Treasury says to raise $5 billion from AIG stock sale". MSNBC. MSNBC. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  6. ^ "AIG CEO defends holiday, slams "lynch mob" attacks". Reuters. August 27, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Recalling a Screen Legend's Legacy". forward.com. Retrieved November 5, 2012. 
  8. ^ Scism, Leslie; Lublin, Joann S.; Pleven, Liam (August 10, 2009). "AIG Chief: Loud Voice And a Listener's Ear". The Wall Street Journal. p. C1. 
  9. ^ a b Son, Hugh (August 18, 2009). "AIG's Benmosche Scuttles Auction of Advisory Unit". Reuters. 
  10. ^ "AIG CEO Robert Benmosche The Insurance Executive Makes Wine in Croatia". winespectator.com. Retrieved May 18, 2013. 
  11. ^ Son, Hugh (August 14, 2009). "AIG Changes Bylaw to Ensure Chairman’s Independence". Bloomberg LP. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  12. ^ "AIG: The country's most tone-deaf CEO". Fortune. December 31, 2009. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  13. ^ "AIG Under Troubled Asset Relief Program, Panels 4 & 5". C-SPAN. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  14. ^ Davies, Paul. "AIG sells $6bn AIA stake to pay down debt". Financial Times. Financial Times. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Overall Positive Return on $182 Billion AIG Commitment during Financial Crisis Reaches $15.1 Billion after Treasury Announces $2.7 Billion in Additional Expected Proceeds from AIG Common Stock Sale". US Department of Treasury. US Department of Treasury. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  16. ^ Dennis, Brady (March 9, 2010). "AIG sells Alico unit to MetLife for $15.5 billion". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved November 5, 2012. 
  17. ^ "AIG sells American General unit to Fortress at loss". ibj.com. Retrieved November 5, 2012. 
  18. ^ Lifsher, Marc; Zimmerman, Martin (April 17, 2009). "AIG selling 21st Century Insurance to Farmers Insurance". latimes.com. Retrieved November 5, 2012. 
  19. ^ "AIG Said to Agree to Sell NYC Headquarters Buildings (Update2)". bloomberg.com. June 2, 2009. Retrieved November 5, 2012. 
  20. ^ "AIG sells Atlantic Station pieces". bizjournals.com. Retrieved November 5, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Treasury sells big chunk of AIG stock at a profit". reuters.com. Retrieved November 5, 2012. 
  22. ^ Son, Hugh. "AIG Changes Bylaw to Ensure Chairman's Independence". Bloomberg LP. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  23. ^ "AIG Chief Is Being Treated for Cancer". Wall Street Journal. October 26, 2010. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  24. ^ Jessica, Pressler. "The Randian and the Bailout". New York Magazine. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  25. ^ Berkowitz, Ben (January 24, 2011). "Benmosche beats back cancer to stay at AIG". Reuters. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Charlie Rose Talks to AIG Chief Robert Benmosche". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 10, 2013. 
  27. ^ Wallace, Gregory (August 28, 2014). "Outgoing AIG CEO given terminal cancer diagnosis". Retrieved September 3, 2014. 
  28. ^ Obituary, nytimes.com; accessed February 28, 2015.
  29. ^ Scism, Leslie. "AIG's Benmosche and Miller on Villains, Turnarounds and Those Bonuses". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 26, 2013. 
  30. ^ Gongloff, Mark (September 24, 2013). "AIG CEO: Bonus Uproar 'Just As Bad' As Racist Lynch Mob". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 26, 2013. 
  31. ^ Chittum, Ryan. "WSJ buries the lead deep on AIG's CEO". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved September 24, 2013. 
  32. ^ Pareene, Alex. "Hey, white guys: No, you're not the victim of a "lynch mob"". Salon. Retrieved September 24, 2013. 
  33. ^ a b Burger, Kathy (January 6, 2011). "AIG's Bob Benmosche Reflects on His Career". Insurance & Technology. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  34. ^ Newcomb, Peter (November 19, 2010). "2010's top people in business". CNN Money. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  35. ^ Ross Sorkin, Andrew (January 3, 2011). "Roasting and Toasting The Dealmakers". New York Times. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  36. ^ T. Hansen, Morten. "100 Best-Performing CEOs in the World". Harvard Business Review. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  37. ^ Gordon, Amanda (October 12, 2012). "Scene Last Night: Swizz Beatz, Michael Moore, Estelle". BusinessWeek. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  38. ^ "2013 Winner Insurance Hall of Fame". Property Casualty 360. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  39. ^ Robert H. Benmosche at the Notable Names Database

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Edward M. Liddy
CEO of AIG
2009–2014
Succeeded by
Peter Hancock