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AIG board seen concerned by CEO comments

Source: Reuters - Thu 3rd Sep 2009

Some members of insurer AIG's board are concerned about recent strong comments from their new chief executive Robert Benmosche, the Wall Street Journal said on Wednesday citing people familiar with the matter.

The newspaper said some members of the board, who installed Robert Benmosche as chief executive last month, plan to discuss how to better manage him during a retreat in mid-September.

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."

In March, New York's top lawman issued subpoenas following news that AIG had paid $169 million (103.9 million pounds) in bonuses to employees in its money-losing financial products division. The payments sparked congressional and public outrage, as AIG has received more than $180 billion of federal aid.

Later, Benmosche said he regretted the comments he made and was trying to bolster a demoralized AIG work force.

Cuomo sought details about the bonuses, including the names of those who received them, the amounts, and details of employee contracts. His office has not made the data public.

Benmosche, a former CEO of MetLife and a native New Yorker, prides himself on a reputation for toughness.

In the past, Benmosche has said he developed a scrappy, can-do approach after his father died young, leaving his mother to pay off a large debt on a family hotel in a Catskills resort town in New York.

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