AIG taps new head of general insurance as company prepares for potential CEO change

August 13, 2020.

American International Group on Thursday revealed a key leadership change in the insurer’s core property and casualty business, which could pave the way for Chief Operating Officer Peter Zaffino to take over as CEO.

said that David McElroy, the company’s current CEO of North American general insurance, has joined its company-wide executive team as head of worldwide general insurance. McElroy takes the post over from Zaffino, who recently became AIG’s president in a sign the company could be preparing him to succeed CEO Brian Duperreault.

Zaffino became president of the U.S.’ largest commercial insurance underwriter on Jan. 1. The added responsibilities were seen as a resemblance to the way Duperreault groomed his successors in previous posts at and broker Marsh & McLennan, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Duperreault, who had worked with Zaffino at Marsh & McLennan between 2008 and 2012, recruited him to AIG soon after taking the top job there in May 2017.

AIG’s general insurance unit sells policies to corporate clients and is among the U.S.’ biggest sellers of homeowners insurance to affluent Americans. Zaffino presided over its recent improvements in key profit metrics, catching up to competitors it had been lagging behind since the insurer nearly folded in the 2008 financial crisis.

On Thursday, Duperreault praised Zaffino’s “tremendous contributions to the turnaround of general insurance” in recent years.

“I know that Peter will continue to apply the same level of discipline and rigor as he has in general insurance and with AIG 200 as he pivots more fully to his enterprise-wide role,” he added.

The AIG 200 plan was rolled out in 2019 as the insurer sought to shed its reputation for inefficiency by pledging to cut $1 billion in operating expenses. On Aug. 4, Zaffino told analysts that the company was “on track” to fulfill its run-rate savings targets through 2022.

McElroy, who was previously executive chairman of Group, first joined AIG in October 2018. He was promoted to president and CEO of the North American general insurance unit in June 2019.

“Dave has played an instrumental role in the turnaround of our general insurance business and the positioning of AIG as a market leader,” Zaffino said.