NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- After two years of sitting in the dark, former American International Group (AIG) CEO Martin Sullivan, who oversaw the loss of $94 billion in shareholder value at that insurance giant, is moving back into the spotlight.
On Wednesday, the $5.2 billion insurance brokerage Willis Group Holdings (WSH) announced Sullivan's appointment as both deputy chairman of the broader firm and head of its global division. The new role puts the 56-year-old insurance titan in charge of the same type of business that brought AIG to its knees.
Joe Plumeri, chairman and CEO of the London-based firm, was enthusiastic about Sullivan's arrival.
"We get a twofer here," Plumeri said on a conference call Wednesday morning. "We are paying him once, but we get a twofer."Willis management explained that they needed someone who can tie together the firm's diverse global business lines to offer an array of products and services to large, multinational firms. They'd like Sullivan to deliver results "in a very bespoke manner to the truly global companies, the Global 500s," said Willis Group President Grahame Millwater. Plumeri pointed out that the large accounts within Willis Global Solutions face "a world that is fraught with risk today." Sullivan will be charged with helping them "mitigate those risks." In that regard, he's an odd choice. During his few years at AIG, Sullivan managed to plunge the company so far into risk that it ultimately required a $182 billion bailout from the federal government, the largest for any individual company during the financial crisis. When he left the insurance giant, it had
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