The multimillionaire head of AIG says he knows the “angst” of families in financial crisis, said Joseph Weber in BusinessWeek. When Edward Liddy was growing up with his widowed mother and sister in New Brunswick, N.J., there were times when “we’d have dinner for three and food for two, and my mother would say, ‘I don’t feel well right now. You two go ahead.’” He has come a long way, earning more than $130 million as CEO of Allstate. At former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson’s request, he came out of retirement last year to run AIG for $1 a year.

Liddy, 63, says he “is no fan of the multimillion-dollar bonuses agreed to by his predecessors at AIG.” But he’s obliged to pay them, he says, because an insurance company is only as good as its word. Despite all the controversy surrounding the bonuses, Liddy remains determined to put AIG on the right track. “The country,” he says, “needs a victory.”