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AIG Names John Paulson and Icahn Ally Merksamer to Board

Board to be expanded to 16 directors from 14, AIG says; AIG increases buybacks, dividend after announcing 4Q loss

Carl Icahn + John Paulson
John Paulson, the hedge fund manager, and Samuel Merksamer, a managing director at Icahn Capital, are to become directors from May, AIG said on Thursday.

The board of American International Group Inc., the insurer being pressured by billionaire investor Carl Icahn to split up, will be expanded to 16 directors from 14.

The change means a representative of Icahn will sit on the board alongside Peter Hancock, the chief executive who has dismissed the activist campaigners’ break-up idea as failing to make “financial sense”.

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Icahn has previously accused the insurer executives for failing to meet profitability targets, and “misleading” investors.

He and Paulson pressured AIG to focus primarily on property-casualty coverage. Icahn has said the plan announced in January by the insurer to exit smaller assets, including the mortgage guaranty business and a broker-dealer network, is not enough of a drastic change.

In a statement on Thursday Icahn said: “We continue to believe that smaller and simpler is better and look forward to working collaboratively with the board and management, ” adding that he declined to join the panel because of his busy schedule.

Icahn said board additions should “help catalyze a turnaround in core P&C operations, a more transparent operating structure, and the ultimate shedding of the SIFI designation, ” a tag given to systemically important financial institutions that are subject to heightened regulation.

“We commend the board for adopting a number of our recommendations over the last few months, ” he said, adding he looked forward to “working collaboratively” with the incumbent directors.






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