There is honor in AIG

All companies and entities have good and bad people and most folks are just doing their job. The AIG Executive Vice President in charge of the financial division that has received so much notoriety resigned this past week and sent his letter of recommendation to the NY Times. The honor that I see here is not so much that he resigned, but rather that DeSantis wanted to help correct the problems that others created. He took responsibility for the situation and sought to remedy it. In contrast, when Liddy was being challenged by Congress he did not stand up for his people nor did he stand by the agreements that he himself had affirmed multiple times.

(As an aside, did anyone in Congress mention that DeSantis and others had a salary of only $1/year and that the “bonuses” where in fact their only real payment for the work they were doing to make AIG viable and thus give the government and the taxpayers a decent return on their investment in the company? I didn’t think so.)

It is a very legitimate debate as to whether such contracts should have been allowed the first place. DeSantis and others, for example, could have simply been given a “relatively” low salary of $200k, for example. But they were not. The real concern for our recovery is that if Congress and the administration is allowed to change contracts after the fact why would anyone want to do business with them? How will Geithner get the private investors he says his plan needs? No, in all this mess DeSantis strikes me as an honorable man who tried to do the right thing and was abandoned by his CEO and government.

After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.

I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.

His entire letter is well worth the read.

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