Since taking over AIG in August, Bobby Benmosche has not minced words about the fact that one of the insurer's greatest impediment to success are the "crazies" in Washington. He's also promised to protect his employees from these insane people, at any cost, by sticking government officials in a little locked room and doing unspeakable things to them. Things financial services hacks like yourselves should never have to hear about. For those of you thinking perhaps this Benmosche guy's all talk or that he doesn't actually have the pair to go through with giving Tim Geithner a crew cut, he's got one thing to say to you:
In the ensuing weeks, [of his first day on the job] Mr. Benmosche traveled around the nation meeting hundreds of AIG employees. In August, at a reception prior to a dinner with 20 or so executives at an AIG life-insurance unit in Houston, Mr. Benmosche said "my b -- are bigger than the government's," apparently to make the point that he wasn't easily intimidated, say two people familiar with the matter.
Mr. Benmosche says he doesn't recall saying such a thing. "If I said it, I would apologize, as it was not appropriate," he says, adding that sometimes "you have to be a little bit provocative if you're going to get people to believe in you and know you're not afraid."