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*** Here is how they managed the Congressional changes that enhanced them and their investment banks –
Sanford I. Weill (born March 16, 1933), commonly known as Sandy Weill is an American banker, financier and philanthropist. He is a former chief executive officer and chairman of Citigroup Inc. He served in those positions until October 1, 2003 and April 18, 2006 respectively.
After a failed attempt to become the CEO of BankAmerica Corp. (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 to spin off a troubled subsidiary, Commercial Credit, a consumer finance 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 cost cuts and reorganisation, the company performed a successful IPO. In 1987 he acquired Gulf Insurance. The next year, 1988, he paid $1.5 billion for Primerica, the parent company of Smith Barney and the A. L. Williams insurance company. In 1989 he acquired Drexel Burnham Lambert‘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 investments. 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 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 banking and insurance businesses had been kept separate.
Weill and Reed bet that Congress would soon pass legislation 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 (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 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.
In 2001, Sanford I. Weill became a Class A Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Class A Directors are Board Members who are elected by Member Banks (of the Federal Reserve System) to represent the interests of Member Banks. (See article on Federal Reserve Bank Board Membership).
In 2002 the company was hit by the wave of “scandals” that followed the stock market downturn of 2002. Chuck Prince replaced Mr. Weill as the CEO of Citigroup on October 1, 2003. In 2003 Citigroup repurchased $300 million worth of shares from Mr. Weill. It was reported among the $1.967 billion of “treasury stock acquired” in the Citigroup consolidated statement of changes in stockholders’ equity.