WASHINGTON – American International Group Inc. said Wednesday its board of directors decided not to sue the U.S. government over the bailout that rescued the company.
News that the insurance giant was considering joining a shareholder suit led by former Chief Executive Maurice “Hank” Greenberg provoked outrage and undermined AIG’s high-profile advertising campaign thanking Americans for the bailout.
The company’s board met Wednesday to listen to presentations about the federal suit by Greenberg’s Starr International Co., which alleges the U.S. government shortchanged AIG shareholders in a bailout that at one point had taxpayers on the hook for more than $182 billion.
AIG took about $125 billion of the money, and the government received a 92 percent ownership stake in the company.
Last month, the Treasury sold its last shares of AIG stock, formally ending the bailout with a $22.7 billion profit.
AIG said the board had a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders to consider joining the suit, a move that Starr had demanded.
But the board quickly decided not to join the suit.
The company is in the midst of a “Thank You America” ad campaign to show its gratitude for being rescued from the brink of collapse.
“In considering and ultimately refusing the demand before us, the board of directors properly and fully executed our fiduciary and legal obligations to AIG and its shareholders,” Robert S. “Steve” Miller, AIG’s chairman, said.