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New AIG Chief Could See Eight-Figure Paycheck

August 20, 2009
Related Topics: Miscellaneous Legal Issues, Compensation Design and Communication, Motivating Employees, Latest News

The new chief executive of embattled American International Group Inc. stands to collect as much as $10.5 million in annual compensation from his bailed-out employer.

Robert Benmosche, who replaced Edward Liddy, will receive an annual salary of $7 million consisting of $3 million in cash and $4 million in AIG shares.

In addition, the former MetLife CEO is eligible for up to $3.5 million in annual bonuses that would be paid out in stock, according to a filing from AIG on Monday, August 17.

Though Benmosche’s pay package is lavish by most any standard, it illustrates how things may be changing on the CEO pay front now that compensation arrangements must be approved by Kenneth Feinberg, the Obama administration’s “pay czar” who signed off on the AIG agreement. For comparison’s stake, after Vikram Pandit became Citigroup’s CEO in late 2007, he was awarded $38 million in compensation.

In addition, Benmosche, 65, must make do without the perks to which CEOs have grown accustomed, including golden parachute payments or gross-ups, which are extra payments companies make to cover the taxes incurred from awards to executives.

Of course, he can afford it: Benmosche pocketed more than $150 million during his tenure atop MetLife from 1996 to 2008.

Benmosche’s bonus payments are also subject to being clawed back if AIG determines they were awarded based on materially inaccurate financial statements or other performance metrics that later prove bogus.

AIG has received about $180 billion in taxpayer-funded assistance, or double the amount doled out to Citigroup and Bank of America combined.

Filed by Aaron Elstein of Crain’s New York Business, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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