Saturday, March 28, 2009

AIG's Chief Risk Officer Still Has A Job!

It seems safe to say that if your job at AIG was to ensure that the company was managing its credit risks effectively, you failed.

Which is why it's interesting that the man who has had that post since at least 2000, Bob Lewis, still appears to have the job today.

An official list of AIG execs obtained by TPMmuckraker and created after CEO Ed Liddy took over last September shows Lewis as the firm's Chief Risk Officer and an executive vice president.

And a letter that looks to be from an employee of AIGFP's Paris office, obtained by the blog Clusterstock and posted earlier today, asserts:

By the way, the head of Risk Control for the whole of AIG, Bob Lewis, is still working in that role today.

Lewis may be one of the prime culprits of AIG's collapse. According to Robert Arvanitis, a former top AIG exec and a risk expert, what caused the firm's downfall was that, in addition to its credit default swaps, its investment division was heavily exposed to the sub-prime market, just like so many other banks were. When AIG's credit rating was downgraded, the Financial Products unit was forced to post more collateral to its counter-parties. But the investment division was unable to provide AIGFP with collateral in the amounts needed, because of its own sub-prime losses. It would have been Lewis' job, said Arvanitis, to have a global view of the company's risk exposure, and make sure it didn't get into that position.

Lewis himself would seem to agree. As Clusterstock notes, back in 2000 he told one trade magazine: "The CCO's ultimate responsibility is to see that credit risks are managed appropriately throughout the worldwide organization."

"Based on the results, I'd say he missed it by a wide mark," Arvanitis told TPMmuckraker, in what seems like an understatement.

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