AIG Names New Finance Chief

American International Group Inc. named Mark Lyons chief financial officer, the latest executive appointment under new Chief Executive Brian Duperreault.

Source: WSJ - Tatyana Shumsky and Leslie Scism | Published on December 6, 2018

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Mr. Lyons, who served as a senior vice president and chief actuary for general insurance since joining AIG in June, succeeds Sid Sankaran effective immediately.

Mr. Sankaran had been AIG’s CFO since 2016. He will remain with the company as an adviser through the year-end reporting process for the 2018 fiscal year.

A representative from AIG declined to comment beyond the announcement, which didn’t specify what prompted the move.

The departure isn’t unexpected to some industry observers, who had thought it likely that Mr. Duperreault, who became CEO in May 2017, at some point would focus his attention on the finance department. The move follows a wave of hiring that has installed new leadership throughout the core unit that sells property-casualty policies to businesses, and indicates the finance department is now in line for an updating aimed at overhauling the delivery of financial data.

Meyer Shields, an analyst with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, said he expects AIG’s shares to trade up on Thursday, when the New York Stock Exchange reopens. He said investors appropriately “hold Mr. Lyons in high esteem following his very successful tenure” as CFO at Arch Capital Group Ltd.

“We think that both his skill set and reputation will enhance confidence in AIG’s turnaround prospects,” Mr. Shields said in a note.

Mr. Lyon’s appointment serves as Mr. Duperreault putting his person in the top finance role, and he is likely to slide into the role easily, said Elyse Greenspan, an analyst at Wells Fargo Securities LLC.

Ms. Greenspan said in a note that she doesn’t believe the change portends a potentially large charge to bolster reserves. In his capacity as actuary, Mr. Lyons spoke about AIG’s reserves on its last earnings call. “Mr. Lyons has already stated that while AIG still needs to review 25% of the reserves, he sees ‘no material red flags’ on these reserves,” analyst Thomas Gallagher of Evercore ISI said in a note.

AIG reported a $1.26 billion net loss in its third quarter, on the back of insurance claims related to Asian typhoons, California mudslides and Hurricane Florence in the southeastern U.S. Still, this was a narrower loss than in the same period of 2017, when the company posted a $1.74 billion loss after three hurricanes in a row slammed the Caribbean and the southern U.S.

AIG’s results have lagged behind many of its rivals ever since the global financial crisis of 2008, when the New York-based company received one of the biggest federal bailouts. AIG fully repaid the nearly $185 billion by the end of 2012, cutting itself roughly in half through sales of businesses and individual assets.