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AIG says CEO Hancock to quit as swelling losses hurt Icahn

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Peter Hancock will resign as American International Group Inc's chief executive officer after the insurer suffered losses four of the past six quarters and faces pressure from activist investors including Carl Icahn and John Paulson.

[NEW YORK] Peter Hancock will resign as American International Group Inc's chief executive officer after the insurer suffered losses four of the past six quarters and faces pressure from activist investors including Carl Icahn and John Paulson.

Mr Hancock, 58, will remain CEO until a successor is named, the New York-based insurer said Thursday in a statement. The company's board met Wednesday as part of an annual review into the firm's performance.

"Without wholehearted shareholder support for my continued leadership, a protracted period of uncertainty could undermine the progress we have made and damage the interests of our policyholders, employees, regulators, debtholders and shareholders," Mr Hancock said in the statement.

AIG shares rose 2.2 per cent to US$64.85 at 8.10am in early trading in New York. The stock declined 2.9 per cent this year through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 Index rallied 5.6 per cent.

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AIG's next CEO will be its seventh since 2005. The company's complexity bedeviled one chief executive after another as they struggled to manage a global insurer that was built through decades of acquisitions by former leader Maurice "Hank" Greenberg and then shrunk through dozens of asset sales after a near collapse during the financial crisis. AIG has repeatedly been burned by higher-than-expected claims costs on policies sold years ago and losses from risky investments.

Mr Hancock "tackled the company's most complex issues, including the repayment of AIG's obligations to the US Treasury in full and with a profit, and is leaving AIG as a strong, focused and profitable insurance company," Chairman Doug Steenland said in the statement.

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