Greenberg walked the plank in the wake of Hurricane Spitzer. The firm has been in a tailspin ever since.
Duperreault's job as president and CEO is to get everything shipshape again at the biggest global brokerage. His pedigree is impeccable. After 20 years with AIG, he left in 1994 to become CEO of ACE Ltd. He was chairman from 2004 to 2007 and a board member until his recent move.
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.
Stand by on this one.
Speaking of pressure, it continues to mount, in spades, at Duperrault'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 business front-pager in The New York Times.
Sullivan has dealt skillfully with the accounting and transparency issues facing AIG. But now analysts and investors are questioning his moves, while prosecutors emboldened by the General Re case may go after Mr. Greenberg, and therefore AIG. We'll be watching this one closely as well.
Charles "Bud" Clarke, former executive vice president of the Insurance Information Institute, died Dec. 18, 2007, at the age of 79. Current III Executive Vice President Cary Schneider said Clarke contributed enormously to public understanding of complex insurance issues and was an important contributor to the institute's growth, sentiments I share having known Bud professionally for years. "Bud early on recognized the importance of communicating directly with insurance consumers," said Schneider. Clarke was associated with the III since its inception in 1960.
Closer to home, for me, was the death of my good friend Thomas M. Maher on Feb. 13, 2008. He was 77. 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 to 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, N.Y.
To those of us who knew him, 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.
June 1, 2008
Copyright 2008© LRP Publications