Dear AIG, Let me tell you how you could have preemptively saved your brand from the assuredly permanent damage it’s just suffered.
All it would've taken was a little balls, and some good old fashioned humility. You could've saved your brand with a lousy press conference. A preemptive strike, as they call it in war. And isn't your brand worth fighting for? Because you had to know this whole $165million bonus thing wasn't going to go over well... you did know that right?
Anyway AIG, here is the script for the press conference that should've been, before you doled out those cushy bonuses. This would have at least given your brand a fighting chance, and maybe even restored a teeny bit of faith in the industry::
“Loyal and patriotic taxpayers of America. It's unfortunate that I have to stand here in front of you today. As you well know by now, the standard practices of our industry are exorbitant and self-congratulatory. We have wronged you in the past, by spending your hard earned money on frivolities that were unnecessary. For our mistakes of the past, we are truly sorry. And moving forward, we plan on being as transparent as possible, with how your money is being spent.
But here and now, we’d like to thank the American people publicly for saving our company, not once, but twice. Thousands of AIG employees still have jobs today because of what you have done, and our ability to be a part of rebuilding the economy remains intact. For this we are truly grateful, and we'll do everything we can to spend the assets we’ve been given in ways that insure success for our future.
And it is on that note that I deeply regret having to make this next announcement…
The contracts that are in place with our employees require us to payout bonuses each year, and those bonuses are fixed. Well, it has come time to deliver those contract-required bonuses, some in excess of $1million. The total cost of these bonus payouts will be $165 million.
We believe very strongly that these bonuses should not be paid, as they represent a violation of the American peoples’ and the government’s trust. But due to the contracts in place with these employees, we are obligated to pay.
However, the people receiving these large bonuses are not obligated to accept them. Which is why AIG is hereby asking all employees to do the right thing for the American people, by not accepting their bonuses. Understanding that this will be a huge sacrifice on the parts of people who have come to expect these payments, we hope it is a sign of good faith that this industry can and should be held responsible for its actions. We will keep the American people apprised of how much of the bonus money is returned to us.
Thank you, and have a nice recession.”