Ahead of his appearance before Congress today for tea and crumpets, AIG CEO Ed Liddy is waxing philosophic this morning in a Washington Post essay. Let's see what he has to say!
You're pissed. That's obvious. Know who else is pissed? Ed Liddy.
The anger is understandable, and I share it. I have been fortunate in more than three decades in business to see firsthand the wealth creation that well-managed American companies bring to their employees and their communities. I have seen the good side of capitalism. But over the past six months, since agreeing to take the reins of AIG and reviewing how it was run in prior years, I have also seen instances of the bad side of capitalism.
There were a few missteps at AIG.
Mistakes were made at AIG, and on a scale that few could have imagined possible.
Do we get any credit for any of this?
What also became clear is that once AIG's relationship with the government and taxpayers changed, our behavior as a company needed to change. So, of our own initiative, we suspended our federal lobbying activities and halted corporate political contributions. We also restricted executive compensation. In all, total 2008 compensation for the top 47 executives is 56 percent lower than their total 2007 compensation. My annual salary is $1. My only stake is my reputation.
Give yourselves a hand.
Taxpayers should know that the government's assistance to AIG has had a beneficial effect. The assistance has provided stability to the company and to the entire financial system.
This is America.
In America, when you owe people money, you pay them. We are pressing forward with our plan to return money to taxpayers, protect policyholders, and give employees a vision of success and a path for achieving it. With the understanding and patience of the American people and the continued support of the Federal Reserve and the Treasury, we can resolve AIG's challenges and help its businesses contribute to a global economic recovery.