It looks like AIG CEO Bob Benmosche has decided to stick around for a while. The Wall Street Journal reports today that he's just signed a noncompete agreement, which part of his $10.5 million compensation deal is contingent on. The piece also suggests Benmosche assured AIG's board yesterday that he's committed to staying.
For those who haven't been following the story, Benmosche appeared to be on the verge of resigning two weeks ago amid frustration with restrictions on executive pay. (That would have meant a fifth CEO for AIG in the span of 18-20 months.) AIG is in the pay czar's crosshairs, of course, and Benmosche feels like he can't compete for the talent he needs to revive the company if he can't offer competitive salaries.
If you're interested in reading more on this, TNR contributor Gabe Sherman has some great backstory in his piece this week in New York magazine. Here's Gabe's account of the build-up to yesterday's board meeting:
After viewing the video, Feinberg left the room, and Benmosche turned to face his board members in private. Benmosche saw himself and his traders as being on the same side as the taxpayers--it infuriated him that Geithner and Congress seemed to see them as the enemy. With Feinberg gone, Benmosche let his anger loose. The pointed exchange he just watched only confirmed in his mind that Feinberg didn’t think he, or his executives, were worth much. He was going to quit. “I’m just about ready to hit the road,” Benmosche said. “Feinberg stabbed me in the back.”
“It wasn’t a moment of anger,” an executive familiar with the exchange later recalled. “It was the last straw of things that were agonizing him.”
Benmosche told the directors he couldn’t lead the company anymore. “When I came in, I promised these people I could stand up for them. What am I going to say to my senior executives when they say ‘I’ve got an offer across the street’? I cannot, in good conscience, tell the guy to hang around. I can’t manage this company with the assignment I’ve been given from Feinberg.”
As the three-hour meeting drew to a close, the board implored Benmosche to stay. He said he would deliver his final answer at the next board meeting, scheduled for November 24. “I’m still stewing about it. I’ll give you my decision then.”