Joe Cassano is not apologizing to anyone. The former AIG executive who helped bring the world economy tumbling down says he did nothing wrong. His underwriting standards never changed: he never saw any risk in underwriting those collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). And if AIG leadership had had the cojones to keep him on board after the proverbial waste matter hit the fan, he would have cut the tax payers a better deal. He would have stuck it to the financial institutions that AIG was so anxious to insure. You want tough - Joe will show you tough!
Joe has avoided an indictment (he walks), and now he testifies (he talks). In his own not-so-humble opinion, he is blameless in the collapse of the worlds's largest insurer. When the final story is written about AIG, it will confirm what we have suspected all along: Cassano is not too bright. Tough, yes. Greedy, yes. Arrogant, for sure. A leader of men (and women, only because he has to), not so much. Self-aware and reflective: you gotta be kidding.
In Search of Leadership
When the great men and women of the revolution founded this country, they wanted freedom from tyranny. I imagine they also envisioned generation after generation of principled leaders to further their original goals. It's highly unlikely that Joe Cassano is what they had in mind.
As we approach the nation's birthday this weekend, let's (somewhat arbitrarily) shift our focus to a real leader: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, the prodigiously gifted general whose improvisation on Little Round Top turned the tide in the civil war. The Washington Post is running a series on leadership; here is their (video) take on Chamberlain's actions at Gettysburg.
The Insider extends to all our readers the wish for a fine holiday break. Amid the fireworks and family outings, pause for a moment in gratitude to those who brought us to this moment. In times of great need, great leaders have often emerged. Who knows, perhaps the same will eventually be said of these challenging times.