American International Group Inc. has named Arthur Levitt, who served as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission from 1993 to 2001, as a special advisor to AIG’s board of directors and its nominating and corporate governance committee.
His duties will include advising the committee on potential nominees for election to the board, as well as board procedures, structure, and governance issues.
“Levitt is a corporate governance expert with significant experience in government and the private sector,” said Frank G. Zarb, chairman and lead director of the embattled insurance company, in a statement. He can “make a strong contribution to AIG’s efforts to enhance its corporate governance practices and policies.”
The New York Times reported that in April, Zarb had asked Levitt to consider a seat on AIG’s board; Levitt declined, but accepted the advisory role. His tenure is expected to be less than a year.
“AIG is implementing several significant initiatives to ensure that we have best practices in corporate governance,” added president and chief executive officer Martin J. Sullivan, in a statement. “To further this important objective, AIG’s board and management will be working closely with Mr. Levitt, who brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this role.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, Zarb recently met with several union pension plans to discuss whether the insurer should appoint three new independent directors who were endorsed by a number of large shareholders. Richard Ferlauto, director of pension and benefits policy at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, told the Journal that Levitt “will repair relationships with shareholders” and hopefully “will make AIG a leader in corporate-governance reform.”