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Sanford I. Weill

Sanford I. Weill

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Sanford I. "Sandy" Weill (born March 16, 1933) is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 banker, financier and philanthropist. He is a former chief executive officer
Chief executive officer
A chief executive officer , managing director , Executive Director for non-profit organizations, or chief executive is the highest-ranking corporate officer or administrator in charge of total management of an organization...

 and chairman of Citigroup
Citigroup Inc. or Citi is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States. Citigroup was formed from one of the world's largest mergers in history by combining the banking giant Citicorp and financial conglomerate...

. He served in those positions until October 1, 2003, and April 18, 2006, respectively.

Early life

Weill was born in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, New York to two Polish
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

-Jewish immigrants. He attended P.S. 200 in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. He also attended Peekskill Military Academy
Peekskill Military Academy
Peekskill Military Academy was founded as 'Peekskill Academy'. It was a military academy for young men and women, founded in 1833, located in Peekskill, New York, United States. The academy was built by a hanging tree and when a building was built near the great tree , one of the British who was...

 in Peekskill, New York
Peekskill, New York
Peekskill is a city in Westchester County, New York. It is situated on a bay along the east side of the Hudson River, across from Jones Point.This community was known to be an early American industrial center, primarily for its iron plow and stove products...

, then enrolled at Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

 where he was active in the Air Force ROTC and the Alpha Epsilon Pi
Alpha Epsilon Pi
Alpha Epsilon Pi , the Global Jewish college fraternity, has 155 active chapters in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Israel with a membership of over 9,000 undergraduates...

 Fraternity. Weill received a Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 degree in Government from Cornell in 1955.

Weill's middle initial of "I" is not an abbreviation for anything. Weill said:
Weill married his wife, the former Joan Mosher, on June 20, 1955. The couple live in Greenwich, Connecticut
Greenwich, Connecticut
Greenwich is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town had a total population of 61,171. It is home to many hedge funds and other financial service companies. Greenwich is the southernmost and westernmost municipality in Connecticut and is 38+ minutes ...

. They have two adult children, Marc Weill and Jessica Weill Bibliowicz, and four grandchildren.

Business career

Weill, shortly after graduating from Cornell University, got his first job on Wall Street
Wall Street
Wall Street refers to the financial district of New York City, named after and centered on the eight-block-long street running from Broadway to South Street on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, or...

 in 1955 – as a runner for Bear Stearns
Bear Stearns
The Bear Stearns Companies, Inc. based in New York City, was a global investment bank and securities trading and brokerage, until its sale to JPMorgan Chase in 2008 during the global financial crisis and recession...

. In 1956, Weill became a licensed broker at Bear Stearns. Rather than making phone calls or personal visits to solicit clients, Weill found he was far more comfortable sitting at his desk, poring through companies' financial statements
Financial statements
A financial statement is a formal record of the financial activities of a business, person, or other entity. In British English—including United Kingdom company law—a financial statement is often referred to as an account, although the term financial statement is also used, particularly by...

 and disclosures made to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. For weeks his only client was his mother, Etta, until Joan persuaded an ex-boyfriend to open a brokerage account.

Building Shearson (1960-1981)

While working at Bear Stearns, Weill was a neighbor of Arthur L. Carter
Arthur L. Carter
Arthur L. Carter is an investment banker, publisher, and artist.He graduated from Brown University in 1953 with a degree in French literature....

 who was working at Lehman Brothers
Lehman Brothers
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. was a global financial services firm. Before declaring bankruptcy in 2008, Lehman was the fourth largest investment bank in the USA , doing business in investment banking, equity and fixed-income sales and trading Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (former NYSE ticker...

. Together with Roger Berlind
Roger Berlind
Roger S. Berlind is a New York City theatrical producer and director of Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. and Lehman Brothers Inc...

 and Peter Potoma they would form Carter, Berlind, Potoma & Weill in May 1960. In 1962 the firm became Carter, Berlind & Weill after the New York Stock Exchange
New York Stock Exchange
The New York Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located at 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City, USA. It is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies at 13.39 trillion as of Dec 2010...

 brought disciplinary proceedings against Potoma.

In 1968, with the departure of Arthur Carter, the firm was renamed Cogan, Berlind, Weill & Levitt
Cogan, Berlind, Weill & Levitt
Cogan, Berlind, Weill & Levitt, originally Carter, Berlind, Potoma & Weill, was an American investment banking and brokerage firm founded in 1960 and acquired by American Express in 1981. In its two decades as an independent firm, Cogan, Berlind, Weill & Levitt served as a vehicle for the rollup...

 (Marshall Cogan
Marshall Cogan
Marshall S. Cogan is an investor and entrepreneur and former financier and trader. Cogan was the founder of United Automotive Group, which he built into one of the largest retailers of cars and trucks in the U.S. As a private equity investor, Cogan acquired a number of businesses in the 1970s and...

, Arthur Levitt
Arthur Levitt
Arthur Levitt, Jr. was the twenty-fifth and longest-serving Chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission from 1993 to 2001. Widely hailed as a champion of the individual investor, he has been criticized for not pushing for tougher accounting rules. Since May 2001 he has been...

), or CBWL jokingly referred to on Wall Street as "Corned Beef With Lettuce". Weill served as the firm's Chairman from 1965 to 1984, a period in which it completed over 15 acquisitions to become the country’s second largest securities brokerage firm. The company became CBWL-Hayden, Stone, Inc. in 1970; Hayden Stone, Inc. in 1972; Shearson Hayden Stone in 1974, when it merged with Shearson Hammill & Co.; and Shearson Loeb Rhoades in 1979, when it merged with Loeb, Rhoades, Hornblower & Co.

With capital totaling $250 million, Shearson Loeb Rhoades trailed only Merrill Lynch
Merrill Lynch
Merrill Lynch is the wealth management division of Bank of America. With over 15,000 financial advisors and $2.2 trillion in client assets it is the world's largest brokerage. Formerly known as Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., prior to 2009 the firm was publicly owned and traded on the New York...

 as the securities brokerage
Stock broker
A stock broker or stockbroker is a regulated professional broker who buys and sells shares and other securities through market makers or Agency Only Firms on behalf of investors...

 industry's largest firm.

American Express (1981-1985)

In 1981, Weill sold Shearson Loeb Rhoades to American Express
American Express
American Express Company or AmEx, is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Three World Financial Center, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States. Founded in 1850, it is one of the 30 components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The company is best...

 for about $930 million in stock. (Sources differ on the precise figure.) In 1982, he founded the National Academy Foundation with the Academy of Finance
Academy of Finance
The Academy of Finance was first established in 1982 by the National Academy Foundation. The Academy of Finance is one of the four member programs sponsored by the National Academy Foundation...

 to educate students that would graduate from High School. Weill began serving as president of American Express Co. in 1983 and as chairman and CEO of American Express's insurance subsidiary, Fireman's Fund Insurance Company
Fireman's Fund Insurance Company
Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, based in Novato, Calif., provides personal and commercial property and casualty insurance products in the United States....

, in 1984. Weill was succeed by his protege, Peter A. Cohen
Peter A. Cohen
Peter A. Cohen was the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Shearson Lehman Brothers, later known as Shearson Lehman Hutton from 1983 through 1990. Today, Cohen serves as Chairman and CEO of Cowen Group, formerly known as Cowen & Company.-Career:...

, who became the youngest head of a Wall Street firm. While at American Express, Weill began grooming his newest protege, Jamie Dimon
Jamie Dimon
James "Jamie" Dimon is a business executive. He is the current chairman, president and chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, and previously served as a Class A director of the Board of Directors of the New York Federal Reserve, a three year term which started January 2007...

, the future CEO of JPMorgan Chase.

Building Citigroup (1986-1998)

Increasing tensions between Weill and the chairman of American Express, James D. Robinson III
James D. Robinson III
James Dixon Robinson III was the chief executive officer of American Express Co. from 1977 until his retirement in 1993.-Education:...

, led Weill to resign in August 1985 at age 52.

After a failed attempt to become the CEO of BankAmerica Corp.
Bank of America
Bank of America Corporation, an American multinational banking and financial services corporation, is the second largest bank holding company in the United States by assets, and the fourth largest bank in the U.S. by market capitalization. The bank is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina...

 (and "take over" Merrill Lynch, according to a Jamie Dimon interview in 2002), he set his sights a little lower and persuaded Minneapolis-based Control Data Corporation
Control Data Corporation
Control Data Corporation was a supercomputer firm. For most of the 1960s, it built the fastest computers in the world by far, only losing that crown in the 1970s after Seymour Cray left the company to found Cray Research, Inc....

 to spin off a troubled subsidiary, Commercial Credit, a consumer finance
Consumer finance
Alternative financial services in the United States refers to a particular type of financial service, namely sub-prime lending by non-bank financial institutions. This branch of the financial services industry is more extensive in the United States than in some other countries, because the major...

 company. In 1986, with $7 million of his own money invested in the company, Weill took over as CEO of Commercial Credit. After a round of deep layoffs and reorganization, the company completed a successful IPO
Initial public offering
An initial public offering or stock market launch, is the first sale of stock by a private company to the public. It can be used by either small or large companies to raise expansion capital and become publicly traded enterprises...


In 1987 he acquired Gulf Insurance. The next year, 1988, he paid $1.5 billion for Primerica, the parent company of Smith Barney
Smith Barney
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney is a retail brokerage joint venture between Morgan Stanley and Citigroup.On January 13, 2009, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup announced that Citigroup would sell 51% of Smith Barney to Morgan Stanley, creating Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, which was formerly a division of...

 and the A. L. Williams insurance company. In 1989 he acquired Drexel Burnham Lambert
Drexel Burnham Lambert
Drexel Burnham Lambert was a major Wall Street investment banking firm, which first rose to prominence and then was forced into bankruptcy in February 1990 by its involvement in illegal activities in the junk bond market, driven by Drexel employee Michael Milken. At its height, it was the...

's retail brokerage outlets. In 1992, he paid $722 million to buy a 27 percent share of Travelers Insurance, which had gotten into trouble because of bad real estate
Real estate
In general use, esp. North American, 'real estate' is taken to mean "Property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this; an item of real property; buildings or...


In 1993 he reacquired his old Shearson brokerage (now Shearson Lehman) from American Express for $1.2 billion. By the end of the year, he had completely taken over Travelers Corp in a $4 billion stock deal and officially began calling his corporation Travelers Group Inc. In 1996 he added to his holdings, at a cost of $4 billion, the property and casualty operations of Aetna Life & Casualty. In September 1997 Weill acquired Salomon Inc., the parent company of Salomon Brothers
Salomon Brothers
Salomon Brothers was a bulge bracket, Wall Street investment bank. Founded in 1910 by three brothers along with a clerk named Ben Levy, it remained a partnership until the early 1980s, when it was acquired by the commodity trading firm Phibro Corporation and then became Salomon Inc. Eventually...

 Inc. for over $9 billion in stock.

In April 1998 Travelers Group announced an agreement to undertake the $76 billion merger between Travelers and Citicorp, and the merger was completed on October 8, 1998. The possibility remained that the merger would run into problems connected with federal law. Ever since the Glass–Steagall Act, bank
A bank is a financial institution that serves as a financial intermediary. The term "bank" may refer to one of several related types of entities:...

ing and insurance
In law and economics, insurance is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for payment. An insurer is a company selling the...

 businesses had been kept separate. Weill and John S. Reed
John S. Reed
John Shepard Reed is the former Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange. He previously served as Chairman and CEO of Citicorp, Citibank, and post-merger, Citigroup. He is currently the Chairman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Office of Corporation. He was born in Chicago, Illinois,...

 bet that Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 would soon pass legislation
Legislation is law which has been promulgated by a legislature or other governing body, or the process of making it...

 overturning those regulations, which Weill, Reed and a number of businesspeople considered not in their interest.

To speed up the process, they recruited ex-President Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

 (Republican) to the Board of Directors and Robert Rubin (Secretary of Treasury during Democratic Clinton Administration) whom Weill was close to. With both Democrats and Republican on their side, the law was taken down in less than 2 years. Many European countries, for instance, had already torn down the firewall between banking and insurance. During a two-to-five-year grace period
Grace period
A grace period is a time past the deadline for an obligation during which a late penalty that would have been imposed is waived. Grace periods, which can range from a number of minutes to a number of days or longer, depending on the context, can apply in various situations, including arrival at a...

 allowed by law, Citigroup could conduct business in its merged form; should that period have elapsed without a change in the law, Citigroup would have had to spin off its insurance businesses. Weill's office holds a wood etching of him engraved with the words "The Shatterer of Glass–Steagall". Weill denies that the repeal of Glass–Steagall played a role in the recent financial crisis.

In 2001, Sanford I. Weill became a Class A Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Federal Reserve Bank of New York
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is one of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks of the United States. It is located at 33 Liberty Street, New York, NY. It is responsible for the Second District of the Federal Reserve System, which encompasses New York state, the 12 northern counties of New Jersey,...

. Class A Directors are Board Members who are elected by Member Banks (of the Federal Reserve System
Federal Reserve System
The Federal Reserve System is the central banking system of the United States. It was created on December 23, 1913 with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, largely in response to a series of financial panics, particularly a severe panic in 1907...

) to represent the interests of Member Banks.


In 2002 the company was hit by the wave of Wall Street managerial restructuring that followed the stock market downturn of 2002
Stock market downturn of 2002
The stock market downturn of 2002 is the sharp drop in stock prices during 2002 in stock exchanges across the United States, Canada, Asia, and Europe...

. Chuck Prince replaced Weill as the CEO of Citigroup on October 1, 2003.

In 2003 Citigroup repurchased $300 million worth of shares from Weill. It was reported among the $1.967 billion of "treasury stock acquired" in the Citigroup consolidated statement of changes in stockholders' equity. The average price Weill received for his shares was $47.14.


In 2004, Citigroup agreed to pay $2.65 billion to settle a class-action suit brought by investors over its role in the WorldCom scandal. Citigroup's Salomon Smith Barney had issued optimistic research reports on WorldCom and, at the same time, helped it raise money by selling its securities.

After receiving $263.9 million from Citigroup for his 5.6 million shares, Citigroup and Smith Barney employees were encouraged to contribute up to 25% of their pay to purchase shares in Citigroup stock through the Capital Accumulation Plan. Employee funds which were voluntarily used to purchase Citigroup stock were restricted from being sold while they remained in the CAP plan. On June 1, 2009, the day Smith Barney employees (and their restricted stock) were released into the joint venture Morgan Stanley Smith Barney the stock had fallen to $3.71, a 92% discount to the price Weill received from the company.

On March 24, 2009 Citigroup employees who participated in the ailing company's stock purchase plan filed a suit in district court, charging that the financial services firm concealed its exposure to toxic subprime-related and other derivative products. The suit sought class action status.


Weill served as a Cornell Trustee for many years, and in 1998 he endowed Cornell's medical school
Medical school
A medical school is a tertiary educational institution—or part of such an institution—that teaches medicine. Degree programs offered at medical schools often include Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Bachelor/Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Philosophy, master's degree, or other post-secondary...

, now known as the Weill Cornell Medical College. As chairman of the Board of Overseers of Weill Cornell Medical College and an emeritus member of the Board of Trustees of Cornell University, Weill orchestrated a $400 million donation to Cornell, of which he and his wife personally contributed $250 million. In June 2007, he endowed the Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology
Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology
Founded in 2007, the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology is a collaborative, non-profit research institution located on Cornell University's campus in Ithaca, New York. The Weill Institute eventually will consist of twelve faculty-led teams, appointed in several life...

 at Cornell, housed in a new life science building named Weill Hall.

In May 2003, he received the Baruch Medal for Business and Civic Leadership, presented by Baruch College
Baruch College
Bernard M. Baruch College, more commonly known as Baruch College, is a constituent college of the City University of New York, located in the Flatiron district of Manhattan, New York City. With an acceptance rate of just 23%, Baruch is among the most competitive and diverse colleges in the nation...

 for his work in public education and his accomplishments in business.

He is currently the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Academy Foundation, a non-profit he founded in 1982. NAF supports career-themed academies in the areas of finance, hospitality and tourism, information technology and engineering in over 500 high schools across the United States.

He is also currently the Chairman of the Board of Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park....

 and is an avid champion of classical music in the United States.

In September 2006, Joan and Sanford Weill Hall was dedicated at the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

. The building is home to the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, often referred to as the Ford School, is a leading public policy school in the United States. Founded in 1914 as the Institute of Public Administration, it was named in 1999 after former President Gerald Ford, who was a 1935...

. Weill donated $5 million towards the construction of the building and an additional $3 million to endow the position of the dean of the school.

Joan and Sanford Weill have been co-chairs, of the annual "Louis Marshall Award Dinner", for most of the past decade (2000–2010).

In 1990, during the period that the Weills were having marital disharmony, Joan suggested to her husband that they escape New York City for the wilderness of the Adirondacks. They purchased a tract of land and built a house close to Knollwood
Knollwood Club
Knollwood Club is an Adirondack Great Camp on Shingle Bay, Lower Saranac Lake, near the village of Saranac Lake, New York. It was built in 1899–1900 by William L. Coulter, who had previously created a major addition to Alfred G. Vanderbilt's Sagamore Camp...

 the former summer home of Louis Marshall and his family overlooking Lower Saranac Lake. The Weills in the meantime returned to marital bliss, Joan endowing a library and student center at Paul Smith's College
Paul Smith's College
Paul Smith's College is a private college and is the only four year institution of higher education located within the boundary of the Adirondack State Park in Upstate New York...


External links

  • World's Richest People 2005: 72. Sanford Weill, Forbes
    Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

  • Sandy Weill at Reference for Business