The 1998 Travelers-Citicorp merger defied federal law, caused a dramatic CEO power struggle, and changed the landscape of the banking and insurance businesses forever-in other words, just another day at the office for Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill. Financial writers Amey Stone and Mike Brewster recount how a middle-class boy from Brooklyn transformed himself into the consummate corporate deal maker in the riveting King of Capital.
The seeds of the historic Citigroup merger were sown early in Weill's career. Working in the 1960s and 1970s with an all-star cast that included future New York Observer publisher Arthur Carter, future Broadway mogul Roger Berlind, and future SEC chairman Arthur Levitt Jr., Weill devised a winning blueprint for acquiring companies: buy a struggling firm with a prestigious name on the cheap, adopt its brand name, close under-performing divisions, integrate its operations into the existing infrastructure, and slash costs.
In 1970, Weill's modest, startup brokerage firm CBWL acquired troubled but venerable Hayden Stone, a firm many times its size. This acquisition set the foundation for the building of Weill's prize gem, Shearson, named after Stone acquired Shearson Hamill. Ten years and fourteen deals later, Weill sold Shearson to American Express, establishing himself as one of the top chief executives of his era.
Weill, though, could never be content as a "deputy dog" to Amex CEO James Robinson III. He left the company in 1985 and started over-essentially from scratch-as CEO of the struggling Commercial Credit, a modest firm based in Baltimore, Maryland, that in a little over a decade morphed into the Travelers Corporation. In 1998, Weill defied federal regulations by masterminding the merger of Travelers with Citibank. Stone and Brewster explain the sophisticated structure of this conglomerate and how Weill aggressively lobbied Congress and the President to ensure its legality. Stone and Brewster also offer insight into the evolution of Citigroup's inner circle following a power struggle between Weill and co-CEO John Reed and how Citigroup plans to address the thorny issue of succession as Weill enters his seventies.
Weill's unprecedented achievements have been tempered by key personal and professional relationships, public defeats, and consumer criticism. However, with the unwavering support of Joan, his wife of more than forty years, Weill remains at the peak of his profession, forever on the lookout for the next megadeal. Discover how a disregard for the impossible and maniacal attention to the bottom line created a financial empire for the incomparable King of Capital.