American International Group Inc. has hired a former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and the former human relations head of Invesco to overhaul the company's human resources operations. The hires were announced as the company looks to improve its human relations operations, according to a June 2 letter that Jeffrey J. Hurd, AIG's senior vice president of human resources and communications, sent to AIG staff.
"It is clear our structure fosters duplication of effort, high costs, sub-optimal service and a limited ability to play a strategic role in support of AIG business goals. All of this must change," Hurd wrote in the letter.
Robert Bleimeister, a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, joined AIG on May 10 as global head of human resources operations and systems. Bleimeister has 30 years of experience in strategy, systems management, and organizational integration, most recently serving as director of business strategy for the United States.
Mitchell Schultz joined AIG June 1 as global head of compensation and benefits. Schultz also has 30 years of experience, most recently leading human resources at Invesco, a leading independent global investment manager.
Hurd's letter outlined the company's immediate priorities, including linking employees' pay to their performance to "more clearly differentiate the pay of our strongest performers" and operating collectively under a "single, competitive, risk-based total rewards philosophy that inspires employees to be innovative, proactive, prudent and profitable market leaders."
Other new faces at AIG's human resources department include a couple of people from MetLife, the former corporate home of current AIG President and Chief Executive Officer Robert H. Benmosche.
Sandy Kapell, the global head of talent management, joined AIG a few months ago from MetLife, and "has already made a big difference at AIG, helping to drive a pay-for-performance culture," Hurd said.
Annette Bernstein, an employment law attorney who will oversee all aspects of human resources legal matters, joins AIG from MetLife, where she served as associate general counsel since 1996.
Hurd was promoted to AIG senior vice president of human resources and communications in February (BestWire, Feb. 2, 2010). He's held numerous senior positions within AIG, most recently as AIG's chief administrative officer. He succeeded Anastasia Kelly, who was the general counsel and vice chairwoman for legal, human resources, corporate affairs, and corporate communications. She resigned in 2009 due to reductions in her base salary that were mandated by Kenneth R. Feinberg, the Troubled Asset Relief Program's special pay master (BestWire, Dec. 31, 2009).
The new hires come as AIG continues to stabilize its operations after a $182.3 billion government bailout that saved the company from failing in 2008. AIG (NYSE: AIG) has been selling off some of its operations to pay back its debt. It hit a roadblock last week when the planned $35.5 billion sale of main Asia unit, AIA Group, to U.K.-based Prudential plc fell through (BestWire, June 7, 2010).
AIG stock was trading at $34.34 a share the afternoon of June 7, down 1.18% from the previous close.
Most AIG insurers have current Best's Financial Strength Ratings of A (Excellent).
(By Meg Green, senior associate editor, BestWeek: Meg.Green@ambest.com)