When he stepped into the top spot at American International Group (NYSE: AIG ) in 2009, CEO Robert Benmosche was faced with a faltering insurance company at the center of the nation's financial crisis. Since then, Benmosche has overseen the firm's resurgence in the insurance industry, along with its total repayment of a huge financial bailout from the U.S. government.
Announced in late 2013, Benmosche will retire from his position in early 2015, with the company looking at both internal and external options for his replacement. Here are three viable candidates that could continue Benmosche's lead.
1. Jay Wintrob
Mr. Wintrob currently serves as President and CEO of AIG's Life and Retirement operations. Having worked in the insurance field for just shy of 30 years, Wintrob is expertly versed in the market's complicated nature.
In 1987 he joined SunAmerica, which was later acquired by AIG, holding numerous posts including President of SunAmerica Investments, overseeing the company's invested asset portfolio -- a task he continues to perform in the restructured AIG L&R segment.
Since investments are such an integral part of any insurance firm's operations, it's paramount that the new AIG CEO understands the complexities of managing a large portfolio.
Wintrob and his team have done a remarkable job managing AIG's portfolio through a trying environment of low interest rates and varying reliability of alternative investments. With his long-standing presence within the AIG organization, Mr. Wintrob is a serious contender for the head honcho's office.
2. Peter Hancock
Mr. Hancock currently resides within the AIG organization as Executive Vice President and CEO of Property & Casualty operations. Though his tenure within the insurance behemoth is short, having only joined AIG in 2010, he is well versed in the firm's newly restructured operations.
Since the aftermath of the financial crisis lead to a serious dive into resurrecting the company's status within the insurance market, Hancock's position as top P&C executive has positioned him to lead the company with confidence going forward.
Hancock also has the benefit of a 20-year tenure within JPMorgan Chase as both CFO and Chief Risk Officer. With the global presence of JPMorgan Chase, Hancock will be more than familiar with the risks faced by a large interntational financial firm.
Though his current position limits his exposure to the firm's overall operations, Hancock has plenty of experience with Life & Retirement products. By co-founding an advisory firm, Hancock was able to glean experience in both risk and asset management, along with "innovative pension solutions."
3. David Herzog
As AIG's Chief Financial Officer since 2008, Mr. Herzog has had a front row seat to the trials and tribulations of the insurer's participation in the financial crisis and the resulting cleanup.
With the insurer since 2001 when his previous employer, American General Corporation, was acquired by AIG, Herzog has held numerous positions including both Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for the Life & Retirement operations as well as the entire organization.
As AIG's CFO, Herzog has expert knowledge of the insurer's entire operations, and knows what works and what doesn't -- number-wise. Though he may not have the experience of managing the insurance operations on a segment basis, his exposure to all areas within the newly streamlined AIG should be a strong support for any bid Herzog could make for the corner office.
Obviously, all three of the candidates mentioned above are from within AIG's walls. Though the company has specifically stated that it is looking both within and without for qualified candidates, it's evident that there are some heavy-hitters within the organization that could easily replace Benmosche as CEO.
Regardless of who takes the top job within the insurer's organization, the company and its investors should be strongly confident in its ability to move forward with its reclamation of top insurer, thanks to its back-to-basics restructuring and drive for growth.
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