By Joann S. Lublin and Leslie Scism
Former American International Group Inc. executive Brian Duperreault is a leading candidate to replace departing AIG Chief Executive Officer Peter Hancock, according to people familiar with the matter.
The onetime lieutenant of Maurice 'Hank" Greenberg spent roughly two decades at AIG before leaving to run three other companies. He is currently chairman and chief executive of Bermuda-based Hamilton Insurance Group Ltd.
AIG's board is seriously considering Mr. Duperreault "along with one or two other guys," one of these people said. AIG's board hasn't yet made a final decision, this person said. The CEO search may be completed by the end of the second quarter, people familiar with the matter said.
An AIG spokesman declined to comment, as did a Hamilton spokeswoman. She said Mr. Duperreault wasn't available for comment.
Bloomberg earlier reported that Mr. Duperreault was under consideration for the CEO job.
The choice of Mr. Duperreault would bring back a figure well known within AIG. He started work there in 1973 in the actuarial department and became one of the company's top executives during the reign of Mr. Greenberg, who as CEO built AIG into a global powerhouse before being pushed out in 2005.
While at AIG Mr. Duperreault was long considered a potential successor to Mr. Greenberg. But he left in 1994 to run then-Bermuda-based specialty insurer ACE Ltd., which he expanded into a diversified insurance firm that eventually acquired Chubb Corp. He later became CEO of consulting and insurance brokerage Marsh & McLennan Cos.
His career path has intersected with members of the Greenberg family multiple times. At ACE he was eventually succeeded as CEO by Evan Greenberg, the son of the former AIG chief executive. Mr. Duperreault had been a mentor to the younger Evan Greenberg at AIG and hired him for a senior job at ACE.
At Marsh Mr. Duperreault took over a post held at one time by Evan Greenberg's brother, Jeffrey.
The new CEO of AIG will have to re-establish leadership for a company that received a $185 billion government bailout during the last financial crisis and is now under pressure from activist investors for lackluster financial results.
In March, AIG announced Mr. Hancock would resign after less than three years at the helm. Many board members were unhappy about recent setbacks in the company's plan for boosting profitability, said people familiar with the matter, while several also feared a potential fight with activist investor Carl Icahn. Mr. Hancock agreed to stay until a successor was found.
Mr. Duperreault, who turns 70 years old in early May, has been asked before to fix troubled companies. Before he arrived at Marsh & McLennan in 2008, the company was under pressure to consider a breakup by shareholders who were frustrated with Marsh & McLennan's performance. He is widely credited with a turnaround of that firm.
In late 2013, he founded Hamilton with principals of hedge fund Two Sigma. Last year, AIG teamed with Hamilton and Two Sigma on a joint venture to sell insurance online to small businesses, using advanced data analytics.
"Mr. Duperreault would be able to form a workable strategy for AIG and also attract top industry talent," Barclays said in a research note released Thursday.
Bradley Hope contributed to this article.
Write to Joann S. Lublin at [email protected] and Leslie Scism at [email protected]