Wednesday, November 11, 2009

AIG Benmosche's Hissy Fit

I actually laughed at loud when I read this on my handheld last night. AIG CEO Benmosche (who will receive $7 million in pay for 2009) has threatened to leave his employment because the new Treasury restrictions on pay are just too difficult.
Is this for real? I mean, are you kidding me? Doesn't this bring up imagery of a small child throwing himself on the ground and screaming,"It's not fair!"? *laugh* And how does any executive think he's going to lateral into another company, "Hi, My name is Robert, and as long as the job is easy, I will fulfill my obligation to you." It has clearly been a long time since Benmosche has really had to struggle for a result; I wonder how he would fare in the current employment market as a young professional ...
Let's keep some key facts in mind:
  • There is a formal process AIG can use to appeal Feinberg's decisions. AIG has not made use of this process yet.
  • The recurrent argument of 'we're going to lose talent if we stick to these pay restrictions' hasn't come to fruition yet.
  • AIG still has to pay the federal government back $90 billion from the Fall 2008 bailout. $90 billion; yeah: you're welcome.
  • Benmosche has thrown tantrums before by threatening to step down, as recently as August before Feinberg approved Benmosche's own multi-million dollar pay.
My presumption has always been that people in his position (executives) are placed there in part for their unique and broad perspectives. That no matter the obstacle, their experience, calm, and expertise would prevail to find a suitable solution for the company. That is part of the argument advanced for enormous executive pay, correct?
Frankly, I am embarrassed for AIG and feel sorry for the PR people that have to spin this to the media. Shame on you Mr. Benmosche: you assumed the role of leader and are well-compensated for it; do your job. Every problem has a solution - it's just a matter of you finding it.
(And for the AIG people "familiar with the matter" who continue to talk to parties outside the company - learn some discretion).

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