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AIG's Biggest "Retention Bonuses" Recipients Left Company

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So, these AIG "retention bonuses," they are extraordinary things. Dig the way the $165 million was disbursed, according to the lead paragraph in this New York Times piece:

The bonuses that the American International Group awarded last week were paid to 418 employees and included $33.6 million for 52 people who have left the failed insurance conglomerate, according to the office of the New York attorney general.

Ahh, there we have it. And yet, there's a WHOLE MAGICAL WORLD of MATH that the Times leaves unexplored. Sarabeth at, however, has crunched the numbers, and found that it yields a sweet and nougaty morsel:

So not only did 12.5% of those who got the bone-ass money leave, but these guys got 20% of the money. In other words, the guys who left got a much higher average bonus than the guys who stayed: roughly $650,000 versus $400,000. Retention bonus, indeed!

If we want to be precise about it, the average bonus for the retained comes to about $359,016.39 per recipient, versus an average payout of $646,153.84 for those who took their "retention" bonus and split. Seems like the incentives behind these "retention" bonuses are all running the wrong way!

Naturally, it's possible that a few recently departed AIG employees may have made off with particularly large hauls, perhaps driving up the average payout of all departed recipients. Overall, we know that 73 of the 418 recipients got over $1 million, that "11 of the employees no longer work for the company" and that the "largest bonus paid was $6.4 million; seven other people also received more than $4 million each." Sure would love to know what the eight big winners know, n'est-ce pas?

At any rate, with a retention bonus like that, who needs employment?

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