Chief executive's letter to staff admits "I had no idea what I was in for"

AIG has returned into the black for the first time in nearly two years, posting a $1.8bn (£1bn) net income for the second quarter of this year.

The profits – which follow a net loss of $5.4bn for the same period last year – come as departing chief executive Ed Liddy sent a letter to staff revealing that he had no idea what he was getting into when he took the company’s helm.

Liddy said the results showed that certain areas of the business had stabilised.

“While our insurance companies’ operating results remain challenged, largely driven by weak economic conditions and lingering effect of negative AIG events earlier in the year, performance trends stabilised from the first quarter.

“We continue to focus on stabilising and strengthening the businesses, but expect continued volatility in reported results in the coming quarters, due in part to accounting charges relating to ongoing restructuring activities.”

Liddy trumpeted his achievements at the stricken insurer. According to reports, he said in a letter dated 7 August: “Truth be told, I had no idea what I was in for when I was accepted this assignment, but I am glad that I came. It hasn’t been easy and goodness knows it hasn’t been pretty.” He added that he would retire with $1, a few bruises and a feeling of hard-earned accomplishment.

He refrained from commenting on his successors, though, saying: “I do not intend to linger on or second-guess new management or policymakers.”