Boyden Executive Search

Looking to complete its turnaround and build up its data mining capabilities, AIG has named Brian Duperreault as its new CEO.

“Brian is uniquely qualified to lead AIG at this important time”, said Douglas Steenland, Chairman of AIG’s board. “He is a hands-on leader who has consistently delivered strong bottom-line results.” The US-based multinational also chose the insurance industry veteran partly in response to demands from Carl Icahn, the fourth-largest shareholder of AIG (American International Group), who had been pushing for change in a time of uncertainty for the insurer. Following significant fourth-quarter losses, outgoing CEO Peter Hancock announced in March that he would step down.

Duperreault is known for his turnaround experience, and for driving growth. Following an earlier career with AIG, he joined Ace (now Chubb) as CEO, building the relatively small insurer into a global operation. He retired following a 10-year stint as CEO and an additional two years as non-executive chairman. Two years later, Duperreault was approached to head Marsh & McLennan Companies, where he is credited with having led a successful reorganisation and turnaround.

After retiring from that firm, Duperreault founded Hamilton Insurance Group, a technology-driven group of insurance companies. Last year Hamilton, together with AIG and Two Sigma Investments, which focuses on applying technology to finance, invested in Attune, a start-up that helps brokers and agents use data to quickly provide quotes and finalise policies. “Putting data science and technology to work in our industry has been on my agenda for some time”, Duperreault said.

Like many insurers, AIG is keen to embrace data mining to price products as well as assess and manage risk. The company announced it will acquire Hamilton USA for about $110 million. This furthers AIG’s joint investment in Attune’s technology platform, and also constitutes a commitment to expanding its data mining and analytics.

Given that Duperreault is 70 years old, executive recruiters say he will likely only remain for three to five years. This means he will be present to guide the company through the remainder of its turnaround, and develop a CEO succession plan. As Reuters reports, “Duperreault's appointment could test whether possible internal candidates for the CEO job will stay.” Most notably, these include Rob Schimek, CEO of the commercial insurance unit and former Chief Financial Officer.

With Duperreault taking the helm, analysts anticipate a management shakeup. “We expect the incoming CEO to announce further changes in management ranks, especially in the corporate finance and commercial lines areas”, said JPMorgan analyst Jimmy Bhullar.