AIG chief's salary structured to reflect risk

By : Lilla Zuill - Analysis
Date posted :2009-08-20 12:30:00

NEW YORK (Reuters) - AIG, the bailed out insurer whose pay practices sparked outrage earlier this year, has agreed to a $10.5 million pay package for its new CEO -- a stark contrast to his predecessor's $1 pay but drawing zero outcry from politicians or regulators.

The approval for a package, with a cash component that dwarfs what many competing insurers' CEOs have received, may be a sign that the Obama administration and lawmakers have begrudgingly accepted that even firms that took federal funds will have to pay top dollar to attract, and keep, executives.

"I'm sure they are not happy about it, but these companies have pushed the White House and Congress enough to get across the message, 'we have to do business,'" said Paul Sorbera, president of Alliance Consulting, a financial recruitment firm.

AIG, the recipient of $80 billion in taxpayer loans, said on Monday that its pay agreement for new Chief Executive Robert Benmosche had been approved in principle by compensation czar Kenneth Feinberg.

Feinberg, recently appointed by the Obama administration, has oversight of executive pay at seven companies that have taken hefty loans from the government including AIG, Bank of America and Citigroup.

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