Tuesday, October 27, 2009

10-27-09: The Resurgence of Hank Greenberg

I’m writing this while wearing my father’s old AINetwork shirt, which is the same shirt I was wearing earlier this morning when I read about Hank Greenberg’s new company, C.V. Starr, which made it into today’s paper because it’s stealing a lot of talent from A.I.G.

American International Network, “AINetwork,” was a small and relatively short-lived subsidiary of American International Group that my dad helped run in the 1980’s. My dad actually worked briefly for Hank’s son Jeff, and even met Hank a couple times at company functions. My dad later helped run The New Hampshire Insurance, another AIG subsidiary.

So when I read the story, I immediately e-mailed it to my dad, who responded a few hours later with his take on the situation. My dad was a PR guy primarily, a role he enjoyed for years before becoming sick of the industry as a whole. He quit and eventually became a teacher and coach, which he enjoys thoroughly. But this story brings back memories of his time with AIG. He recognizes a few names on the C.V. Starr website as possible Greenberg recruits from AIG, notably Tom Tizzio and Joe Cassano (despite his spotty track record). He doesn’t have a problem with these guys getting jobs and getting paid big bucks by Greenberg, since it’s not really taxpayer money that will be spent.

But one thing my father, an ex-AIG employee years out of the industry, is puzzled by is how Hank Greenberg, who together with his son were the targets of a failed federal case of price fixing (among other things), is now in the position to help the Federal Government by taking some individuals off the Federal bailout payroll. My dad’s impression of Greenberg was that of a brilliant businessman, but all in all not a very nice man (he fired his own son at one point). My dad and I have different political opinions, but I think at this juncture we both agree: this should be interesting.

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