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AIG Appoints Global COO: Will it Grow Under New Leadership?

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American International Group, Inc. (AIG - Free Report) has appointed Peter Zaffino as Executive Vice President, Global Chief Operating Officer effective Aug 1, 2017.

Zaffino has to his credit an impressive career spanning 25 years in the insurance industry. He held various positions at  Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC - Free Report) . Before joining Marsh & McLennan, he worked at several senior positions, including an executive role with a GE Capital portfolio company.

At AIG, Zaffino will take charge of daily business of all country operations, including U.S. Commercial field operations and the Multinational organization. He will also head Global Business Services, Administration and Communications.

Zaffino will be paired with the CEO and Executive Leadership Team. He will form AIG’s long-term strategies for growth and operations and look after the execution of the Commercial and Consumer strategies to achieve growth and profitability objectives.

In May, AIG appointed Brian Duperreault as its new CEO, replacing Peter Hancock, who quit after the company’s poor performance. Duperreault has been successful in bringing Zaffino on board. Both worked together at Marsh and McLennan.

The company’s share price has returned 2.04% since the appointment of Duperreault. The Zacks categorized  Insurance - Multi line industry has gained 3% over the same time frame.

AIG is making changes to its top brass and expanding its talent pool in a big way to steer the company to profitability. AIG was kept an eye on by activist investor Carl Icahn, who demanded immediate profitability reforms at the company, which was suffering under the weight of its mammoth size.

A number of measures were taken to improve profitability. These included better underwriting, purchasing reinsurance, cost control, increasing share buyback, and divesting non core and unprofitable businesses. Though these initiatives have paid off to some extent, as evident by a profitable first quarter, a lot still needs to be achieved. We expect the company’s new leaders to take up this challenge successfully.  

AIG carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the space are Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. (AGII - Free Report) and American Financial Group, Inc. (AFG - Free Report) . Each of these stocks carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

American Financial offers Property and Casualty (P&C) insurance products in the United States. The company beat estimates in three of the last four quarters with an average positive surprise of 6.45%.

Argo Group International Holdings underwrites specialty insurance and reinsurance products in the P&C market worldwide. The company beat estimates in each of the last four quarters with an average positive surprise of 36.54%.

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