AIG Chief tackles government repayment head-on

 @ibtimes
on December 20 2009 10:00 PM

Bailed-out U.S. insurer American International Group will take at least two years to repay its debt, but is benefiting from an aggressive management style, said Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche in an FT interview.

AIG was propped up with $180 billion in taxpayer funds, but Benmosche said that repayment of debt through earning profits and selling off businesses is within his sights.

The more time we , the greater the probability we'll pay back all of . But our goal is to pay back all of it he said to the Financial Times.

Benmosche cited his aggressive managerial style as a key factor in halting the slide of the company, galvanizing a demoralized staff and resisting U.S. government pressure to sell assets quickly.

They were basically saying 'let's divest everything', said Benmosche. The problem for me was that if the sum of the parts is less than the whole, and the whole is what you need to pay back the government, it's not going to work.

Benmosche, the 65-year-old former chief executive at life insurer Metlife , was appointed as CEO in August 2009 succeeding Edward Liddy.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Carol Bishopric)

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