Bob Benmosche, the charismatic former chief executive of AIG who was tasked with bringing the insurer back from the precipice during the financial crisis, has passed away, his former company has announced.
Known as one of the insurance industry’s most outspoken characters, he was coaxed out of retirement and joined AIG in August 2009.
Before moving to the company, AIG was oversized and owed tens of billions of dollars to the US government following its bailout in 2008. During his time with the firm, Benmosche repeatedly stood up for AIG when politicians vilified the ailing insurance group.
His persistence paid off with his five year stint at the helm of AIG including the repayment of the entire $182bn it had borrowed from US taxpayers as well as another $23bn with the company seeking to rebuild its tattered reputation.
Ultimately, this was done with Benmosche undertaking a restructure of the company as well as divesting itself of various businesses.
It was first announced that Benmosche, who would have turned 71 in May, was being treated for lung cancer back in 2010, but it was not until last summer that he stepped down from his role as president and chief executive, handing over the reins to AIG’s property and casualty chief executive Peter Hancock.
“Bob was one of the most inspirational and successful leaders in corporate America by any measure,” said Robert Miller, the chairman of AIG’s board of directors.
“We will never forget that under Bob’s extraordinary leadership, the people of AIG repaid America in full plus a profit of nearly $23bn. Everyone in the AIG family has been greatly blessed by Bob’s vision, his loyalty, and his friendship during his five years with the company. Bob was a brilliant man who brought tremendous leadership, energy, passion, and tenacity to his job. At AIG, we will honor his legacy by continuing to focus on integrity and performance. He will be deeply missed.”
Benmosche, who passed away on Friday morning at NYU Langone Medical Center, was inducted into the Insurance Hall of Fame in 2013, and was named Insurance Leader of the Year by St John’s University School of Risk Management in 2014.