Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Brandon Leaves General Re

Joseph Brandon has resigned as chairman and chief executive of General Re.

This is part of the fall-out from a criminal prosecution. As my regular readers may remember (I discussed it here), a jury in Connecticut, in February, found executives of two reinsurance companies guilty of a scheme to defraud the shareholders of one of them.

Apparently, General Re agreed to assist the other company involved, AIG, in booking a transaction between the two firms in such a way as to overstate the size of AIG's loss reserves.

Brandon himself was not among those convicted, and hasn't been charged. But he was, as the saying goes, the captain of the General Re ship when the sailors misbehaved.

He may be responsible for more than inattentive captaincy, though. The Wall Street Journal said last week that prosecutors have been pressuring the mother company of General Re, Berkshire Hathaway, to show Brandon the door.

And the captain of the Berkshire Hathaway ship, of course, is the legendary Warren Buffett.

Weather might get unpleasant even in margaritaville in the weeks and months to come.

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