CEO, American International Group
With a stock market valuation of $196 billion and operations in 130 countries, AIG is a global force. And its 76-year-old chairman uses his personal clout to extend AIG's reach, whether it's lobbying for the adoption of a terrorism insurance backstop by the federal government or gaining special clearance to enter China.
For Greenberg, however, this hasn't been the best year. The damage from September 11, for example, totaled $800 million in claims, and Enron accounted for a $69 million loss. Moreover, concerns over AIG's lack of financial transparency and Greenberg's lack of a successor have caused the stock price to suffer. Nonetheless, he found time last year to purchase American General Corp. for $23 billion in the largest insurance deal ever.
Managing Director/CEO, Citadel Investment Group LLC
Longevity and consistency aren't words that often apply to hedge funds. But over the past decade, 33-year-old Griffin's strategy has created funds returning up to 30 percent net annual gains, making them among the few to enjoy investment-grade (triple B) credit ratings. With about $6 billion now under management, Citadel proved itself yet again in last year's market mayhem, with its most mature, convertible bond-heavy funds posting gains and its managers moving quickly to snap up new opportunities in distressed securities and lending.
How do they do it? Sophisticated quantitative models, a diversified asset base, and constant due diligence on counterparties are some of their success factors. But Griffin is key. "He's the stabilizing factor," says S&P director Jonathan Ukeiley. "The conservatism definitely flows down from him."
Chairman, Munich Re
As the world's largest reinsurance underwriter, Munich Re can move insurance rates. Once a conservative firm, under Schinzler's rule it has diversified into a full-blown financial-services firm. Last December, Schinzler, 61, announced plans to cross-sell banking and insurance products through an alliance with Hypovereinsbank. A month later, he announced a 10.4 percent stake in Frankfurt-based Commerzbank.
Like some of its competitors, Munich Re has begun selling reinsurance directly to corporations. Schinzler says the solution to insurers' losses following the September 11 attacks is to raise premiums. Not a proposal CFOs want to hear — but Schinzler can make it happen.
Swiss Re's Financial Services Business Group
By offering insurance products akin to traditional banking strategies, Zurich-based Swiss Reinsurance Co. is known for giving companies alternative access to capital. Three years ago, for example, it developed a policy for UGG that blended its grain-volume risk with its property-and-casualty exposures in a single, integrated risk portfolio, triggered by certain fluctuations in grain volumes. More recently, it offered Michelin, MBIA, and Royal Bank of Canada access to capital for future contingencies through insurance triggered by economic metrics.
Last year, the company tapped Jacques Aigrain, 47, a French-born veteran of two decades at J.P. Morgan, to head up the newly formed Swiss Re's FSBG, which puts its investment-banking, credit, asset-management, and risk-solutions businesses under one umbrella. Observers are waiting to see what other novel approaches to raising capital FSBG will offer.