Cherkasky succeeded Jeffrey Greenberg as captain of the USS Marsh. Greenberg walked the plank in the wake of Hurricane (Eliot) Spitzer. The firm has been taking on water ever since.
Mr. Duperreault's job as president and CEO is to get everything shipshape again. His pedigree is impeccable. After 20 years with AIG, he left in 1994 to become CEO of ACE Ltd. He was chairman there from 2004 to 2007.
There's little doubt he'll effect a long-term turnaround and a short-term recovery at Marsh, despite his lack of experience on the brokerage side of the business. He'll be under enormous pressure to do just that.
Speaking of pressure, it continues to mount, in spades, at Mr. Duperreault's alma mater, AIG, the world's largest commercial insurer, whose recent fate has been inextricably bound with Marsh's and whose fortunes have been every bit as beleaguered.
Fortunately for Martin Sullivan, Hank Greenberg's former sponsor and now nemesis, there wasn't a fleck in his thick mane that wasn't already white when he took charge. Surely it would have turned that shade overnight given what he's been through ever since.
"The only thing I have missed is a plague of locusts," he was quoted as saying in a February 3 story in The New York Times. Sullivan has dealt skillfully with the accounting and overall transparency issues facing AIG. But now analysts and investors are calling his moves into question, at the same time as prosecutors emboldened by the outcome of the General Re case may go after Mr. Greenberg, and therefore AIG.
Charles "Bud" Clarke, former executive vice president of the Insurance Information Institute died December 18 at the age of 79. Current III Executive VP Cary Schneider said Clarke was an extremely important contributor to the Institute's growth. "Bud early on recognized the importance of communicating directly with insurance consumers," says Schneider .
Clarke had been associated with the III since its inception in 1960.
Closer to home was the death of my good friend Thomas M. Maher on February 13, 2008. Tom was born in 1930 in Chicago and was a graduate of the American Academy of Art there.
He served in the Air Force from 1951-1959 and began his civilian career as an editor-writer with daily newspapers in the New York metropolitan area. He later became a public relations executive for New York City-headquartered corporations and an award-winning marketing columnist, senior editor and managing editor of the National Underwriter.
In 1987, he formed his own communications firm in New Rochelle, NY. We'll forever miss his acid wit and his unfailing friendship. "It's easy enough to say he was a funny man who squinted at life through jaundiced eyes, and leave it at that," I've written elsewhere. "But he was so much more. His gift for dark humor, sarcasm, and for wielding a biting cartoonist's pen masked a warm, gentle and giving spirit."
THOMAS J. SLATTERY a veteran editor and writer on industry affairs for more than 40 years, is also the managing director of Slattery-Esterkamp Communications, Baldwin, N.Y.
May 1, 2008
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