Former AIG President and CEO Robert Benmosche, who led the insurer’s turnaround after its $182 billion government bailout, has died of lung cancer at age 70, the company announced Friday.
The company says Benmosche, also a former MetLife CEO, died Friday morning at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Benmosche became AIG’s CEO in August 2009. The company disclosed his cancer diagnosis in October 2010, saying he was undergoing “aggressive” chemotherapy without disclosing the type of cancer. Peter Hancock replaced Benmosche on Sept. 1.
American Insurance Group Inc. was bailed out at the height of the 2008 financial crisis after its near collapse when the subprime mortgage bubble burst. The company paid back that bailout and it says the government received a profit of almost $23 billion.
A statement from Benmosche’s family said he “engineered one of the most extraordinary corporate turnarounds in American financial history.”
Benmosche was born May 29, 1944, in the borough of Brooklyn. According to a statement release by his family, his parents, Lillian and Daniel, later ran a restaurant and rented out cabins. When his father died in 1954, his mother was saddled with $250,000 in debt. Benmosche later worked in his family’s motel business, drove delivery trucks for Coca-Cola, and served in the U.S. Army in South Korea.
Benmosche later became CEO of MetLife and led the company when it went public in 2000. He retired in 2006 and established a vineyard near his villa in Dubrovnik, Croatia, before the Obama administration recruited him to take over AIG.