AIG Taps Former MetLife Chief as New CEO

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Troubled insurer American International Group Inc (AIG.N) has chosen former MetLife (MET.N) chief Robert Benmosche as its new CEO, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The AIG board approved the choice Monday morning, the newspaper said on its website.

An AIG spokesman was not immediately available to comment.

Benmosche would succeed Edward Liddy as AIG chief executive. Liddy joined the company as chairman and CEO last September, within hours of the company getting billions of dollars in support from the U.S. government after nearly collapsing under losses on repackaged mortgages it had guaranteed.

In May, Liddy said he planned to step down once replacements were found to fill the CEO and chairman roles.

Benmosche, 65, retired from MetLife in 2006 after eight years at the helm of what is today the largest U.S. life insurer. He led MetLife’s demutualization in 2000, transforming the company from an insurer owned by its policyholders to one that is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

His success in restructuring MetLife’s ownership could bode well for AIG, which is having to reshape itself in the wake of its federal bailout. Once the world’s largest insurer, AIG is in the process of selling off assets to try to repay more than $80 billion in loans from the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve.

In total, AIG has been given a taxpayer lifeline of up to $180 billion over the course of three successive bailouts. The company is expected to report second-quarter results this week. It has reported billions of dollars in losses in each of the previous five quarters.

AIG shares were down 13 cents, or 1 percent, to $13.01 in late-morning trade on the NYSE. (Reporting by Lilla Zuill; editing by John Wallace)