It has been my interest to understand how large USA conglomerates conquered the world. I came around the story of American International Group (AIG) through Maurice Greenberg. Maurice “Hank” Greenberg headed AIG for almost 40 decades until it was nationalized by the US government. The group was started by Mr. Cornelius Vander Starr though C.V. Starr and Company in 1919 from Shanghai offices.
The book gives a detailed engagement by Greenberg in building AIG making it a conglomerate it was by 2004. Greenberg claims AIG was $180 Billion by the 2004. What is interesting for me is how Greenberg and AIG wined and dined politicians. It is worded in such a way that it appears as if it was lobbying for the legislation changes, opening of trade or acquisition of new license/ companies.
What is concerning is Greenberg meetings with the government to debrief based from his international visits. In some cases AIG was involved in facilitation escapes from hostile countries. It appears that the International Advisory Board (IAB) formed in 1981 was a platform to discuss international challenges and opportunities. The board was used to compare notes between luminaries and AIG executives.
The book brings forward self-serving interest of Greenberg building the brand. The 1st part discusses how Greenburg ascended to power. He was tenacious and focused once Mr. Starr allowed him independence. Cunningham details the strong international relationship Greenberg has with domestic and foreign governments. The relationships seem to be more than just insurance interest as they appear “too deep”. The 2nd part of the book details activities up to nationalization of AIG. This is to be read only if one is interested in Greenberg’s perspective to the hostility.
One cannot play down the efforts of building such as a big business. There are some of these organizations on our shores including AIG, Microsoft, Walmart and Barclays to name the few. It appears that most of the “new colonizes” used AIG as a script. The tactics seems to be the same and repeatable.
One should ask the question of whether these conglomerates bring value or it is thievery.