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AIG Gets Another Chairman

What is the least attractive Chairman job in the world? Probably that of AIG.

Edward Liddy will step down this week. His replacement will be Harvey Golub, who turned around American Express in the 1990s. Liddy is a replacement for Robert Willumstad, the replacement for Martin Sullivan, who in turn replaced Hank Greenberg. Sullivan's failing was that he was too much of an "Insider"in the Greenberg regime. Willumstad came from a floundering Citigroup, and Liddy was a wellmeaning man and Hank Paulsen crony at Goldman Sachs who was not quite up to the job. As such, he was paid all of $1 dollar for his tenure.

To his credit, Golub's predescessor, James Robinson III paved the way for Golub to take the reins at Amex. Golub was a smart, no-nonsense tough talker from McKinsey who did not suffer fools (including, at itmes,  Robinson) gladly. Robinson was a much more polished man who was out of place in what had become the rough and tumble culture of American Express. But he brokered a compromise whereby Golub improved his "executive demeanor" to acceptable levels, but others at Amex accepted leadership from what was an "outsider."

Golub will inherit a "split" role as non-executive chairman with Brober Ben Moschce as the new President. As such Golub will "officially" have more of an elderstatesman role, although he could step in if things continue to remain out of hand.