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AIG CEO Splits Time Between Saving Economy and Making Wine


Robert Benmosche

Robert Benmosche is aspiring to be a wine revolutionary as he tries to build a reputation for Croatian wines with his new winery. This would typically pump me up, except that when Mr. Benmosche isn’t making wine, he’s tasked with running one of the most important and unstable mega corporations in America, AIG, which enjoyed a $182.5 BILLION loan from you, me and everyone else in America, which is roughly the same amount as the entire Gross Domestic Product of Chile.

According to NY Daily News:

Wearing flip-flops, khaki shorts and a green polo shirt, the new chief executive of bailed-out insurer American International Group Inc says he’s getting a lot of work done from his massive villa overlooking the Adriatic.

Benmosche said that he regularly keeps up with AIG business via telephone and the Internet, helped by the villa’s array of satellite technology, and had three conference calls scheduled for Wednesday.

He had returned to the villa in a city famed for its medieval walls and crystal clear waters because he said he wanted to oversee the harvest of his vineyards to the north…

InsuranceJournal.com takes a closer look at Benmosche’s foray into wine:

He bought and renovated a massive villa, acquiring vineyards and then after a year of seeking approvals from U.S. and Croatian authorities importing 1,500 vines from California to produce the popular
American Zinfandel type of wine. Coming out of retirement to one of the toughest jobs in corporate America had not been part of the original plan.

This summer was the first harvest from these vines — now multiplied to 6,000 plants — a harvest Benmosche had no intention of missing.

This much we know: running a wine business is really tough, and running a mega corporation that screwed itself so badly that it needed to borrow 182,000 billion-dollar bills just to keep from failing is really, REALLY tough, so maybe trying to tackle both at the same time isn’t such a great idea?


  1. Chris DAmico | Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Well obviously Mr. Benmosche needs a hobby to blow off steam after the daily stresses of the harvest. Give the guy a break, he had THREE conference calls scheduled in ONE day.

    And bringing California Zin to a region with a winemaking tradition that dates back to the Romans and has an array of grape varietals that even most of the hardest core wine nerds have never heard of? Really? Throw another one on the bad idea pile.

  2. Alan Kropf | Thursday, November 12, 2009

    I tried to break his record of three conference calls a day, but my iPhone continues to drop calls, and my personal record as of late is ZERO.

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