No disrespect intended

September 1, 2009

Robert Benmosche, the new CEO of AIG, tells us he regrets tough comments he made about New York’s attorney general, explaining that he was trying to bolster a demoralized AIG work force. “You can characterize me as a goon or you can characterize me as somebody who is attempting to deal with a complex issue of a very demoralized employee force and said those things to them in confidence to reassure them that they no longer have to be afraid that they are going to be attacked again,” Benmosche told Adam Tanner in an interview.

During a closed-door staff meeting in Houston, Texas, last month, Benmosche said New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo “doesn’t deserve to be in government” and had acted like a “criminal.” Cuomo’s office declined to comment on the matter.

Given the poisoned chalice the stewardship of AIG has been for his predecessors, Benmosche may be taking the only tack available. The former CEO of MetLife and native New Yorker, who prides himself on a reputation for toughness, did try to couch his comments somewhat, saying from his Croatian villa that “one should not assume that my aggressiveness is disrespect.”

While the New York AG or another, higher official might not call for his head, it’s hard to imagine such insults being tolerated for very long.

7 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

And these are the people living off our tax dollars. This AIG goon lives in a multi-million dollar mansion with 12 bathrooms, while some of the tax payers he’s living off can barely afford to pay their mortgages. He should be ashamed.

Posted by Donna | Report as abusive

I think that Cuomo, like many other Attorney Generals, acts like a prosecuting lawyer and makes a lot of statements with a smattering of his version of the truth. I think that as a State Attorney General Cuomo should be taught how to use a “Velvet Hammer”. Instead of grand standing it is more appropriate to put out a press release with some concerns that could lead to accusations, and he should have airtight proof andlet the other party wiggle for awhile.

Posted by f belz | Report as abusive

Benmoshe seems to think that if the government invested huge amounts in AIG then they should patiently wait for him to do what he likes with the company precisely because they invested in it. He is wrong. The government invested in AIG not because they liked the company and its prospects, but because its failure at the time would have caused immense damage to the financial system. His disrespectful remarks should not be tolerated if they arise again. After all, the government is the major shareholder and if it were not for it AIG would have inevitably failed.


Cuomo is driving the financial industry out of New York. That’s bad for NY but good for the rest of us. The concentration and frenzy of Lower Manhattan somehow loosens the morals and lowers the IQ of these “masters of the universe”

Meanwhile, the real question is why the Obama administration keeps talking about “regulation” instead of trust busting. 100 years ago, an energetic young president (TR) broke up those “too big to fail” so they depended on their customers, instead of the other way around.

Posted by Nate | Report as abusive

Rubbish AIG!
After squeezing the AIG to repay the debt, AIG must be let fail!

Posted by Rose Eli | Report as abusive

A guy who threatensto publicize the names and addresses of of AIG employees for the “crime” of accepting their bonuses, so that they live in fear of being lynched by a Mob, is nothing short of a Criminal. If this guy happens to be the Attorney General, we are living in a Police State, not a Democracy.

Posted by Sue | Report as abusive

donna- Bob did not work for AIG when they were in trouble. He previously ran Met Life which is not a part of the financial issues we are in. When you need someone to come in and bring AIG back to the game you have to pay for them. He is worth more than AIG is paying him and for that the taxpayers are getting a value. You simply will not get the right caliber of person to take on this challenge unless you appropriately compensate them. He came out of retirement for this position. Our taxes did not pay for that mansion so take solice in that fact.

Posted by Steven | Report as abusive

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