March 9 (UPI) — American International Group’s top executive, Peter Hancock, announced Thursday he is stepping down as CEO and president, three weeks after the insurance powerhouse reported a huge financial loss in the fourth quarter of 2016.
In February, AIG reported a fourth-quarter loss of $3.04 billion, the New York-based company’s worst since the 2008 financial crisis when it was saved from collapse by a $185 billion bailout from the federal government. For the year, it lost $840 million.
The $3-billion fourth-quarter loss was attributed to a $5.6 billion charge from a prior year adverse reserve development, indicating the company had too little in reserves.
In January, AIG agreed to a reinsurance deal with National Indemnity, a subsidiary of investor Warren Buffett‘s Berkshire Hathaway, for $9.8 billion.
“I believe this is the right decision to make for the company and all its stakeholders,” Hancock said of his resignation. “Without wholehearted shareholder support for my continued leadership, a protracted period of uncertainty could undermine the progress we have made and damage the interests of our policyholders, employees, regulators, debt-holders and shareholders.”
Hancock, who joined the company in 2010, was named president and CEO in September 2014. He was previously CEO of AIG Property Casualty.
“Peter’s accomplishments at AIG, including his role in the company’s turnaround and in driving shareholder value, are immeasurable,” Chairman Douglas Steenland said in a press release. “He tackled the company’s most complex issues, including the repayment of AIG’s obligations to the U.S. Treasury in full and with a profit, and is leaving AIG as a strong, focused and profitable insurance company.”
Billionaire Carl Icahn, the company’s fifth-largest stakeholder, applauded the move with a post on Twitter.
Icahn had faulted Hancock for failing to meet return targets and had called AIG “too big to succeed,” a play off “too big to fail.”
AIG said Hancock will remain with the company until a new CEO is installed.