In this week’s New York, I have a cover story that goes behind-the-scenes in the battle to control Wall Street comp. Nowhere is this conflict more vividly displayed than the current war between AIG and the Government. AIG’s CEO, the brash, outspoken Robert Benmosche, is fending off efforts by Kenneth R. Feinberg, the Pay Czar, who’s seeking to limit what AIG’s traders can make. The standoff came to a head on November 4, when Benmosche told AIG’s board of directors that he is going to quit. They convinced him to stay, but he’s set to give them his final answer at tomorrow’s board meeting.
From the piece:
After viewing the video, Feinberg left the room, and Benmosche turned to face his board members in private. Benmosche saw himself and his traders as being on the same side as the taxpayers—it infuriated him that Geithner and Congress seemed to see them as the enemy. With Feinberg gone, Benmosche let his anger loose. The pointed exchange he just watched only confirmed in his mind that Feinberg didn’t think he, or his executives, were worth much. He was going to quit. “I’m just about ready to hit the road,” Benmosche said. “Feinberg stabbed me in the back.”
“It wasn’t a moment of anger,” an executive familiar with the exchange later recalled. “It was the last straw of things that were agonizing him.”
Read the full piece HERE
In this week’s New York, I profile star New York Times business reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin, the author of the blockbuster Wall Street book Too Big to Fail. Sorkin has had a meteoric rise at the Times. He started writing for the paper at 18, and took over the hyper-competitive mergers and acquisitions beat when he was just out of college.
Sorkin is more than a reporter. He’s a brand unto himself. He runs Dealbook, the Times‘ closely-followed Wall Street blog, writes a weekly column and makes numerous appearances on CNBC and Charlie Rose. But inside the Times, Sorkin is a figure of considerable newsroom conflict. Many senior reporters question his closeness to the Wall Street mandarins who are his sources, worrying that he might be repeating the mistakes of former disgraced Times reporter Judy Miller. Critics point out that he wrote glowingly about the private equity boom, and failed to see the real-estate and credit meltdowns before it was too late. With his book, Sorkin has set out to write the definitive account of the behind-the-scenes battle to save the financial system from ruin. Inside the Times, the debate over Sorkin is really a battle to define the narrative of the meltdown.
Despite the criticism, Sorkin has achieved something most of his Times colleagues haven’t: job security. In an uncertain time for newspapers, Sorkin’s brand is assured.
Read the full piece HERE