Former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg must be feeling a lot like Colonel Jessep. AIG sued Greenberg for his role in canceling a deferred compensation plan for executives and running away with millions of AIG shares which were then sold over time for close to $4.3 billion. After a testy day on the stand yesterday, AIG's attorney turned up the heat today looking for Greenberg to admit he ordered the code red and broke his fiduciary duty to the executives.
The heated exchange focused on whether Greenberg was making a formal commitment to the plan participants when he said their stock would remain in trust for "a couple hundred years"
"When I said a couple of hundred years, I'm speaking to a group of people and trying to build their morale," Greenberg testified today. "It's a motivating speech. A couple of hundred years is an exaggeration. Anybody who was there would recognize that that was simply a figure of speech and not a commitment."
When AIG's attorney, Ted Wells, asked Greenberg if he misled plan participants, Hank was on the verge of telling Wells that he had the luxury of not knowing what he knew and didn't give a damn what he thought he was entitled to.
"No, of course not," Greenberg said. "Counselor, a couple of hundred of years -- no one would seriously have thought that far in advance. No one company can plan 200 years in advance. No one company can plan five years in advance."
Wells asked: "So, that was a false statement?"
'It Wasn't a False Statement'
"It wasn't a false statement. I was trying to put a concept together."