Jake DeSantis’ AIG Resignation Letter


AIG Financial Products VP Jake DeSantis sent his open resignation letter to the New York Times, which published it last night. Here’s the first part:

DEAR Mr. Liddy,

It is with deep regret that I submit my notice of resignation from A.I.G. Financial Products. I hope you take the time to read this entire letter. Before describing the details of my decision, I want to offer some context:

I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.

After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.

I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.


DeSantis goes on to say explain his thoughts about the sudden disappearance of his and other employees’ retention bonuses, the bad blood at AIG, and why he is leaving. He also plans to donate his the after-tax proceeds of his $742,000 retention payment to nonprofits helping people during the downturn.

I appreciate DeSantis’ gesture to give voice to his own situation. But it’s not exactly moving. DeSantis’ hopes were dashed, his expectations ground into the mud–but he’s still doing alright. His annual pay last year was still $1 + $742,000. He has worked hard, neglected his family, and gotten his version of beans for it. But these claims are cliched by now.

At the end of the day, DeSantis is another suffering American. He just happens to be suffering more comfortably than many others.

Written by Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.