ACE Limited President and CEO Evan Greenberg has issued a statement to the Group’s employees concerning the “events of the last few days,” which he said, along with the news reports, had been “deeply concerning for all of us.”
Evan Greenberg, the younger brother of Marsh CEO Jeffrey Greenberg and younger son of AIG’s Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg, pointed out that although ACE had been mentioned in the lawsuit by New York’s Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (See related articles), it had not been named as a defendant.
He did mention, however that “an ACE employee” – identified through other sources as Patricia Abrams an ACE assistant VP – had pled guilty to criminal misdemeanor charges related to Spitzer’s investigation. “This employee has been suspended and placed on paid leave,” Greenberg indicated.
“We have been cooperating with the New York Attorney General’s office since its investigation began several months ago,” his statement continued. “We will continue to cooperate fully. At the time the Attorney General began his investigation, we hired an outside law firm, Debevoise & Plimpton, with a team headed by former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, to conduct an independent internal investigation. Debevoise has been reporting its findings to management and will now report directly to both management and the Audit Committee of the ACE Board of Directors. That investigation will continue, and it will examine every relevant area of the organization to determine whether there has been or remains any improper behavior. The investigation will be thorough and we will complete it as rapidly as possible.”
In something of an understatement Greenberg noted that Spitzer’s lawsuit “has raised the question of the continuing appropriateness of placement service agreements (PSAs),” and stressed that, effective immediately, ACE will “discontinue all PSAs throughout our organization.”
He told the employees that the company considered the charges to be “extremely serious matters,” and said management would do its best “to keep you informed,” but he also noted that the company could not “comment on the investigation until it has been completed.” He also indicated ACE’s management intended “to work as closely as we can with the Attorney General’s office to achieve an appropriate resolution to these matters. We are not going to speculate about what the outcome might be, or on how long it might take to get there,” he added.
“One thing, however, is without doubt,” Greenberg continued: “ACE was built on a strong ethical foundation. It’s one of the reasons you and I come to work here every day. It’s one of the reasons our clients rely on us. The ACE Code of Conduct policy reinforces our belief in proper behavior at all times. I believe all of you strive to be true to that policy. But we are also a disciplined organization that neither tolerates nor condones unethical behavior. Where the investigation shows that there have been lapses, they will be fixed – quickly and permanently.”
He told the employees that the company has appointed “a working group of senior managers and outside advisors to deal with the investigation and all related matters.” He urged them to continue doing their job in the best interest of the company and its clients, unless they were part of that group.
He also cautioned them to refer any media inquiries about the situation to ACE’s Chief Communications Officer Pat McGovern. Greenberg clearly intended his statement to be disseminated, however. It appears in full on the company’s Web site (www.acelimted.com), and Greenberg urged employees to “feel free to share this letter” with any of the group’s clients. He also stated: “If they have more complex questions, refer them up the chain of command, and we’ll do our best to get them responses. But mostly our clients will be looking to us to continue handling their business in our usual professional and helpful manner. I know I can count on you to do just that.”
He concluded by reminding ACE’s employees that “we are a strong company with many talented and dedicated people. Our company has a very bright future. I can assure you that we will do the right thing. We will get this situation behind us so that we can continue the good work we do on behalf of our clients, our shareholders and each other.”
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