AIG cuts jobs, head count now trails MetLife
NEW YORK (Bloomberg) American International Group Inc. cut its workforce by more than a third last year as the bailed-out insurer sold profitable units, including one to rival MetLife Inc., which now has more employees.
AIG had about 63,000 workers as of December 31, the New York- based firm said in a regulatory filing last week, a 34 percent drop from a year earlier. MetLife, the largest US life insurer, ended the year with 66,000 employees, a 22 percent increase, as it bought American Life Insurance Co., or Alico, from AIG.
Chief executive officer Robert Benmosche, 66, is reducing AIG's workforce as he dismantles a company that Maurice(Hank) Greenberg built with $50 billion in acquisitions in his four decades leading the firm through 2005. AIG has announced more than 30 asset sales including an initial public offering of AIA Group Ltd., its main Asian life business, since taking a US bailout that has swelled to $182.3 billion.
“A large portion of that reduction in workforce is just through those divestitures,” said Jonathan Hatcher, an analyst at Jefferies Group Inc., in an interview. AIG and the US government have sought to simplify the company “to remove it from the too-big-to-fail category”.
In addition to asset sales, AIG also shuttered Hong Kong and Tokyo offices of the derivatives unit that brought the company to the brink of collapse with bets on mortgages. AIG, which had as many as 116,000 employees at its peak in 2008, last week reported its first profit in three quarters on gains from asset sales. AIG's net income exceeded $11 billion for the three months ended December 31, compared with a loss of $8.87 billion in the same period a year earlier.