The departure of the head of American International Group Inc's aircraft leasing unit was driven partly by U.S. pay restrictions imposed on the insurer, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

AIG, which is nearly 80 percent owned by the government after a $182.3 billion taxpayer-funded rescue, said late on Friday that International Lease Finance Corp Chief Executive John Plueger retired.

Plueger's exit came less than two months after former CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy, who founded ILFC, left after an unsuccessful bid to buy part of the aircraft lessor's fleet.

AIG named ILFC Chief Financial Officer Alan Lund as interim president and CEO, while it conducts a search for a permanent successor. It also named ILFC Fred Cromer, senior vice president for finance, to succeed Lund as ILFC CFO.

Last Tuesday, Kenneth Feinberg, the Obama administration's pay czar, clamped down on 2010 pay at five U.S. firms that still depend on a government lifeline, including AIG.

Feinberg said at the time that his burdensome restrictions were not sending talented workers fleeing for the exits.

An AIG spokeswoman declined to comment.

(Reporting by Paritosh Bansal; Editing by Marguerita Choy)