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December 2, 2009updated 13 Apr 2017 8:55am

Bosses well rewarded despite tough times

According to a disclosure by AIG, Benmosche will receive an annual remuneration of $3 million in cash plus $4 million in AIG ordinary shares which will be awarded in biweekly allotments

By Stafford Thomas

Robert H Benmosche, American International Group’s (AIG) president and CEO since August, faces what many would regard as an unenviable challenge. But at least it is a challenge for which he is being well – though seemingly not excessively – rewarded.

According to a disclosure by AIG, Benmosche will receive an annual remuneration of $3 million in cash plus $4 million in AIG ordinary shares which will be awarded in biweekly allotments. The shares vest immediately upon award but are restricted from sale for five years from Benmosche’s 10 August 2009 hire date.

While he is being well rewarded, his package is not excessive, according to data from corporate governance research firm The Corporate Library. The firm found CEOs at S&P 500 Index companies received on average $10.9 million in total compensation in 2008.

Benmosche is, however, faring far better than his immediate predecessor Edward Liddy who accepted a token cash salary of $1 in 2008. His additional benefits totalled $460,411.

According to US labour union organisation the AFL-CIO, the highest paid CEO in the US financial services industry in 2008 was specialty insurer and reinsurer Axis Capital Holdings’s John Charman. He pocketed $46.77 million in total compensation, making him the eighth best-rewarded CEO in the US.

In financial services, Charman was followed by American Express’ Kenneth Chenault who received $43.4 million, Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein at $42.95 million and Citigroup’s Vikram Pandit at $38.24 million.

Within the insurance industry, after Charman came broking giant Marsh & McLennan Companies’ Brian Duperreault who raked in $24.96 million in total compensation in 2008. He was followed WellCare Health Plans’ Heath Schiesser who walked off with $23.47 million. WellCare focuses exclusively on government-sponsored health insurance programmes.

Among the CEOs of life insurers, topping the list in 58th overall position was MetLife’s C Robert Henrikson who received a $21.45 million compensation package in 2008. Trailing him in 69th position was life insurer Prudential Financial’s John R Strangfeld who took home $21.58 million in total compensation.

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