Some Bonuses Are More Equal Than Others
Earlier today, we highlighted some excerpts from a 2004 deposition given by Joseph Cassano, who was then the head of AIG’s financial products unit — the division whose massive losses on credit default swaps would later bring the company to its knees. But the story of the underlying case, as summarized at the time by a trade publication, is just as revealing as Cassano’s testimony.
AIG was being sued for breach of contract by a former employee, Rob Feilbogen. Feilbogen claimed that when the unit he worked for, AIG Trading, was put under the control of Cassano’s AIG Financial Products, he was informed in writing by an AIGFP executive that the company’s previous guarantee to pay him a bonus of $1.3 million would no longer be operative. Feilbogen said he was told he would still be eligible for a bonus, but the $1.3 million figure would not be guaranteed.
In a letter to Cassano, Feilbogen insisted on receiving his $1.3 million bonus. In response, Cassano played hardball, telling Feilbogen he could agree to the new deal, or resign. Feilbogen continued to resist, and was soon informed by an AIGFP lawyer that his employment had been terminated “as a result of his decision to resign.” [more…]