Tom Flack comments on the departure of AIG chief Martin Sullivan.
The credit crunch claimed one of its highest profile victim to date last week after the world’s largest insurer, AIG, gave chief Martin Sullivan his marching orders.
Sullivan’s demise was the natural fall-out, commentators said, of successive quarters of record losses, tens of billions in sub-prime related writedowns, an investigation from the US regulator, and a lawsuit from a Florida pension fund. And that’s just for starters.
Given that the heads of other financial heavyweights – including Citigroup, Lehman and Merrill Lynch – have already walked the plank, it is not surprising to see Sullivan bear the brunt of the blame.
What will be more interesting to see is what difference the move will make to AIG’s leading shareholder, chief detractor, and former chief, Hank Greenberg.
New chief, Robert Willumstad certainly wasted no time in holding out the olive branch to Greenberg, who has seen $10bn (£5bn) wiped off the value of his 11% stake in the group in the past year. Whether Greenberg’s ire was directed exclusively at his protégé will become clearer over the coming weeks.
Investors did not respond with much favour to the news, with AIG stock falling almost 8% over the three days after Sullivan’s departure.
Meanwhile, the news that Zurich chief James Schiro had finally broken cover and commented on the potential acquisition of RBS’ insurance assets led the pack on insurancetimes.co.uk.
Interestingly enough, Zurich officials, including Schiro, spent more time talking down the feasibility of rival suitor Allstate launching a bid than explaining in any detail why the Swiss giant was likely to make a move, or indeed confirming that it actually had.
RBS remained high on the news agenda across the online financial media, with the bank’s credit strategy team warning of the biggest crash in a century, driven by inflation.
The most read stories this week on insurancetimes.co.uk:
1. Zurich chief: We are best fit for RBSI
James Schiro questions rival suitors’ ability to extract value from deal.
2. Culver agrees £6m sale to CCV
Retail business to be sold to consolidator’s Welsh subsidiary.
3. Insurers shed thousands of jobs
Norwich Union and Zurich chop 2,700 jobs as recession looms.
4. RBS chief: Insurance assets will achieve full price
Undervalued sale looks unlikely, says Goodwin.
5. Perkins Slade sale talks collapse
Poor economic conditions blamed for termination of discussions with Oval.
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Steve White is head of compliance and training at Biba
Allianz Commercial has appointed Jason Griffiths as branch manager at its Woking office.
Griffiths joins from Allianz’s engineering operation where he was regional business manager for the southern region for the past nine years.
MI Adjusting have appointed Tina Whelan as head of its business services division.
Whelan will specialise in high value motor, and employers’ and public liability claims.
GAB Robins has appointed Robert Binning as director of its major and complex loss service line in the UK.
Binning returns to GAB Robins after five years in senior roles in the loss adjusting sector.
Travelers Syndicate 5000 is pleased to announce the appointment of Dale Willetts as personal accident senior underwriter in the accident and special risks team.
Crawford & Co
Crawford & Company has appointed Michael La-Band to its global account management team.
La-Band joins from McLaren Young International, where he was managing director for Mexico.
Arista Insurance has appointed Dan Mewse to provide localised underwriting support to its brokers in Cornwall and Devon.
Mewse will be responsible for developing and maintaining broker accounts in the region by providing onsite underwriting support to brokers as required.
Everest Re (Bermuda) has strengthened its casualty team by appointing Neil Jarman .
Jarman will be reporting directly to Paul Tester, alongside Andy Brooks.