Insurance conglomerate American International Group Inc. is taking steps to split off its life-insurance business into a separate company, leaving it to focus on property-casualty insurance, a separation it will make under the direction of a new chief executive.
In news releases late Monday afternoon, the New York company said current Chief Executive Brian Duperreault will hand over his title on March 1 to Peter Zaffino, the company’s president.
The hiving off of the life-and-retirement operations would be the latest dramatic change at a company that in the early 2000s was a financial-services behemoth with globe-straddling operations, including airplane leasing, a financial-derivatives business, and prosperous life-insurance units in far-flung locations.
AIG collapsed into the U.S. government’s arms in 2008 during the financial crisis, and roughly halved itself over the next four years as it raised money to fully repay taxpayers for a bailout that reached nearly $185 billion at its peak.
Over the past three years, Mr. Zaffino, 53 years old, has been a key lieutenant to Mr. Duperreault, 73, and he has been widely viewed as heir apparent inside and outside the company. The two have worked on a turnaround of the property-casualty unit. That unit is a leading seller of insurance to businesses world-wide but had delivered poor results for years.