WASHINGTON, March 20 (UPI) -- The former head of U.S. insurance giant AIG says he wouldn't have paid the $165 million in retention bonuses that he asserts began after he left.
"When I was there, nobody had a contract in the company, including me. I didn't believe in them," former American Insurance Group Chief Executive Officer Maurice "Hank" Greenberg said Thursday on CBS' "Early Show." "If you didn't do the job, you didn't deserve to be there. There were no contracts."
When he led AIG, bonuses were awarded based on performance, Greenberg said. "If you didn't perform, you didn't get a bonus."
When asked if AIG should have paid the bonuses as it received more than $170 billion in federal bailout funds, Greenberg said, "Absolutely not."
Several CEOs followed Greenberg but he told CBS he blamed current CEO Edward Liddy, installed by the government in September and who said he inherited the bonus mess from his predecessors and existing contracts.
Greenberg said Liddy "should be replaced" and that managers at AIG after he left were guilty of "stupidity."
"I don't know if it's criminal. I think it's stupidity," he said. "Those who are investigating should determine whether there was stupidity, there was fraud, there was whatever."
Investigators are looking into Joseph Casano, whom Greenberg appointed to run AIG's financial products, the unit responsible for the losses.
Responding to former CEO's claims, CBS reported Friday that Nicholas Ashooh, senior vice president of communications for AIG, called it "absolutely astounding that Mr. Greenberg would claim that he never put in place retention agreements. His entire long-term management compensation was a retention agreement."