Don’t dare Robert Benmosche. According to a report in Bloomberg, the new CEO of American International Group Inc. thrice turned down the offer to lead the beleaguered insurer, but relented after being challenged by a friend while dining in Croatia. Given the fact that Benmosche, a former MetLife CEO, already owns a villa on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, money was not the driving factor.

On an audio recording obtained by Bloomberg, Benmosche told AIG employees that much of his motivation stems from an urge to restore the credibility lost by the company, industry and, indeed, capitalism, since the financial crisis.

Benmosche admits the public pillorying heaped on his predecessor, Edward Liddy, helped dissuade him from accepting earlier offers. However, his anger at the blame leveled at AIG employees who had nothing to do with the insurer’s losses, sweetened by a $7 million offer, induced him to return.

Unlike Liddy, who was both CEO and chairman, the report says Benmosche as CEO will concentrate on operations while Chairman Harvey Golub concentrates on interacting with the government.


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