The Real AIG Too Big Too Fail Story


Learn the Truth from the Inside of AIG

In The AIG Story, the company’s long-term CEO Hank Greenberg (1967 to 2005) and GW professor and corporate governance expert Lawrence Cunningham chronicle the origins of the company and its relentless pioneering of open markets everywhere in the world.
They regale readers with riveting vignettes of how AIG grew from a modest group of insurance enterprises in 1970 to the largest insurance company in world history. They illustrate AIG’s distinctive entrepreneurial culture and how its outstanding employees worldwide helped pave the road to globalization.
Corrects common misconceptions about AIG that arose due to its role at the center of the financial crisis of 2008.
Unique account of AIG by one of the iconic business leaders of the twentieth century who developed close relationships with many of the most important world leaders of the period and helped to open markets everywhere.
New critical perspective on battles with N. Y. Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and the 2008 U.S. government seizure of AIG amid the financial crisis.
Confidential information shared publicly for the first time.
The AIG Story captures an impressive saga in business history–one of innovation, vision and leadership at a company that was almost destroyed with a few strokes of governmental pens. The AIG Story carries important lessons and implications for the U.S., especially its role in international affairs, its approach to business, its legal system and its handling of financial crises.
It’s rare for a star executive in any industry to tell the story of building a major company with this level of detail. Greenberg and Cunningham have produced a book that gives a real insider’s view of how AIG was transformed into a global colossus.
This is followed by the twisted saga of how the government (in the form of an overly ambitious prosecutor named Eliot Spitzer) nearly destroyed AIG by forcing Greenberg to retire in 2005 … and then how in 2008 the government (in the form of an egregiously conflicted Treasury Secretary named Hank Paulson) decided to bail out the now rudderless company in order to save favored institutions such as Goldman Sachs, where Paulson was once Chairman.
In between, the book is laced with scores of first-hand anecdotes involving world leaders and corporate chieftains that will keep any business-minded reader thoroughly entertained. One further plus is the scrupulous level of detailed legal research that went into the book, resulting in one of the most fact-based accounts of what happened both to AIG and the American economy in the fall of 2008.
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Hank Greenberg: Chairman and CEO of C.V. Starr & Co., which he joined as vice president in 1960, becoming a director in 1965 and Chairman and CEO in 1968. From 1967 until 2005, he was CEO of American International Group, which grew during that period from a scattered collection of insurance businesses worth about $300 million to the largest insurance company in world history, worth more than $180 billion. After he left AIG, the company’s new leadership embarked on a radical transformation that put the company at the heart of the 2008 financial crisis and nearly destroyed it. He has been among the most active and influential international business executives in history.
Lawrence Cunningham: the Henry St. George Tucker III Research Professor at George Washington University Law School and Director of GW’s Center for Law, Economics and Finance (C-LEAF) in New York. He is the author of numerous books including, most recently, Contracts in the Real World: Stories of Popular Contracts and Why They Matter. His research appears in leading university journals, including those published by Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Michigan, Vanderbilt and Virginia; op-eds have run in many newspapers, including the Baltimore Sun, the New York Daily News, the New York Times and the Financial Times. On Amazon, Cunningham has been ranked one of the top 100 authors in the category of business and investing.
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