AIG Plans Retention Pay and Bonuses

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American International Group, kept alive by more than $100 billion in credit from the U.S. government, reportedly plans sizable cash "retention payments" for 130 executives and other employees.

The insurer is zigging and zagging in terms of its payout plans in an apparent bid to sidestep criticism from lawmakers.

Chief Executive Edward Liddy previously said AIG's top seven executives wouldn't get any bonuses for 2008, salaries would be frozen for another 50 executives, and his own salary was set at $1 through 2009.

Yet according to Bloomberg News, the company is gearing up to dole out special cash awards of 100 - 300 percent of salary for senior executives and up to 100 percent of salary for another group of employees not as high in the corporate hierarchy. "The retention payments are several times larger than year- end bonuses, which most of the 130 executives will still get in March," the newswire says, citing an unnamed source.

Some recipients will get more than $500,000. The only one named thus far is Jay Wintrob, head of retirement services. He's in line to receive $3 million, more than four times his 2007 salary, according to a September AIG filing.

"We have to hold on to the talented people running our businesses," AIG spokesman Nicholas Ashooh told Bloomberg. "Our competitors have been trying to hire them for years."

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