Published: Fri, March 10, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

AIG shares climb on Hancock exit

AIG shares climb on Hancock exit

Hancock, who was named chief executive in September 2014, alluded to the discord with shareholders in a statement. Activist investors Carl Icahn and John Paulson, who secured seats on the board a year ago, have also piled pressure on AIG's executives.

American International Group's top executive, Peter Hancock, announced Thursday he is stepping down as CEO and president, three weeks after the insurance powerhouse reported a huge financial loss in the fourth quarter of 2016.

AIG was brought to its knees during the financial crisis and rescued by a $182 billion bailout from the government. "Without wholehearted shareholder support for my continued leadership, a protracted period of uncertainty could undermine the progress we have made and damage the interests of our policyholders, employees, regulators, debtholders, and shareholders".

The company's share price was up about 1.2 percent on the news at $64.22 in early trading on March 9.

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The New York-based firm confirmed that Hancock, who has held the position of CEO for the last two-and-a-half years, will remain in charge until a successor is named.

Hancock had opposed Icahn and Paulson's efforts to break the company up, instead unveiling a cost-cutting and restructuring plan.

Icahn had faulted Hancock for failing to meet return targets and had called AIG "too big to succeed", a play off "too big to fail". Before that, he was the CEO of AIG Property Casualty.

The negative number was mostly because of a $5.6 billion increase in reserves for future insurance claims, a move that was part of the CEO's push to mop up much of the risk that had hung over the company. Given its history, AIG can't afford more bad surprises, which is one reason Mr. Hancock said he is leaving the company.

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