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Greenberg:  Bad Strategy Dims AIG Future


Former AIG chief executive Maurice "Hank" Greenberg sees the company he built being liquidated by the government, and calls that a disgrace.

In an exclusive CNBC interview, Greenberg, now the chairman and chief executive of CV Starr & Co., said what has happened to AIG needn't have happened the way it did.

"The plan (the government) came out with was very Draconian," he said.  "It left the government with 79.9 percent ownership in the company, and so, essentially, it was nationalized."

He questioned the wisdom of selling off parts of the company to raise capital.

"You can't pay back the taxpayer by selling assets in this market," he said. 

Greenberg also questioned the company's controversial offers of retention bonuses to key employees, something that has raised the ire of government critics.  His successor at AIG, Edward Liddy, defended the practice in a CNBC interview on Monday. (See that interview in the video at left)

"Retention bonuses are not going to keep the good people," Greenberg said.

His own strategy would be to "build the company back to what it was, and sell assets at a much later date."

His outlook for the company is not bright, particularly under the stewardship of Liddy, whom he dismissed as "a liquidator."

"The insurance businesses of AIG were unique, and the franchise is unique; there isn't anything like it in the world," he said.  "It won't be that way much longer."