AIG's Future Is in the Hands of This Low-Profile Executive

NEW YORK (The Deal) -- Brian Schreiber, a critical behind-the-scenes player at insurance giant American International Group  (AIG) for several years, looks increasingly important to its future under new CEO Peter Hancock.

AIG appointed Schreiber, an 18-year veteran, to a new role of executive vice president and chief strategy officer, where he will sit on a 13-member operating committee Hancock created after he took over the top job from Bob Benmosche in September.

"You're a smart guy but you're running a fucked-up process," J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon told Schreiber, according to Andrew RossSorkin's book, Too Big To Fail. Spokesmen for AIG and J.P. Morgan declined to comment.

Schreiber's relationships with potential buyers, from Wall Street investment bankers to private equity firms, made him the go-to AIG executive during the most harrowing part of the financial crisis, according to Roddy Boyd, author of Fatal Risk: A Cautionary Tale of AIG's Corporate Suicide. "He probably wouldn't say that, but no one on the New York Federal Reserve Board was interested in hearing from anybody but Brian Schreiber during Lehman weekend because he was the guy who was seen as understanding risks and liabilities better than anybody at the time, " Boyd said.

A call to Robert Willumstad, who was CEO of AIG at the time of the crisis, wasn't returned.

One investor who has known Schreiber for years said the fact that he has survived as long as he has at AIG is due to his smarts. "In some ways you can be a drone and survive by not being noticed. That's totally not what he is. He's very smart and was always very much on top of what the issues were and trying to figure out ways to solve them."

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