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Former Top AIG Attorney Says Insurer Was Unprepared for Financial Crisis

Posted on 15 Mar 2010

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Former attorney for American International Group Inc. (AIG), Anastasia Kelly, said that the insurer was unprepared for the financial crisis that forced it to accept government funding of $182.3 million.

Kelly during a corporate law conference at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington said that AIG didn't have the "infrastructure to call upon to respond." Because the company was so diverse and global, "there was no one in charge," she said. AIG declined to comment.

AIG agreed in September 2008 to turn over a majority stake to the U.S. after failing to get support from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. or arrange a loan through JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Robert Willumstad, who became AIG’s third chief executive officer in three years when he took over in June of 2008, was replaced by the government before presenting the turnaround plan he’d been preparing.

Kelly, 60, joined law firm DLA Piper this month after leaving AIG in December in protest of government-imposed pay limits. Kenneth Feinberg, the Obama administration’s special master for executive compensation, had ruled that base salaries there shouldn’t exceed $500,000, with some exceptions. Kelly was awarded more than $3 million in severance from AIG.

The company wasn’t prepared when former CEO Maurice “Hank” Greenberg departed in 2005, Kelly said in an interview. “Hank didn’t plan to leave when he left, so the normal transition when a CEO leaves that you hope happens when a CEO leaves didn’t happen.”