Edward Liddy To Step Down As CEO Of AIG

By Conor Clarke

Liddy has been serving as chairman and CEO since September, when Henry Paulson asked him to step off the board of Goldman Sachs and up to the helm of the wobbling insurance giant. He will now stay on until the company -- which is to say the government -- picks a successor. (Or two successors, if they take his advice and split the chairman's seat from the CEO.)

Liddy has been working for a salary of $1 (with some equity and bonus possibilities) and said in a letter to Geithner, "My only stake is my reputation." Well, I think it's safe to say that particular stake was torn from his hands and driven straight through his heart.



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Two points about this. First, I think worth remembering that Liddy inherited just about all of those bonus contracts. (Not all of them, but most of them.) Reasonable people can disagree about how well or poorly Liddy handled the fuss, but if the bone you want to pick is over bonuses, you don't want to head to Liddy's table. Introduce yourself to Joe Cassano.

Second, this really can't be that surprising. Liddy's job was pretty much thankless, and he was appointed by Paulson. Since the government owns the company, keeping him in place would be somewhere along the spectrum towards keeping Condi Rice at the State Department.

On the other hand, AIG will now have had five (!) CEOs since 2005, which sort of reminds me of that time a while back when Argentina had five presidents in three years.  I don't know if anyone remembers that fondly. Sometimes continuity is nice.


Photo from Getty Images

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2009/05/edward-liddy-to-step-down-as-ceo-of-aig/18069/