BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Monica Langley, why did you name your book "Tearing
Down the Walls"?
MONICA LANGLEY, AUTHOR, "TEARING DOWN THE WALLS" Because the subject
of the book, Sandy Weill, has spent his entire life in the financial
industry tearing down walls. He started on Wall Street. It was run like a
club, more than a business, and he had to break down barriers to even get
onto Wall Street. And then when he made his biggest acquisition of
Citicorp and created Citigroup, the world`s largest financial empire, he
tore down the Glass-Steagall and all the banking laws, in effect, to put
together this monster.
LAMB: His picture`s on the screen. Tell us a little bit about him.
LANGLEY: He`s a larger-than-life figure. He is -- he started from
nowhere, and today, as you know, he`s the most important financial CEO in
the world. President Bush calls him to ask what he sees in the economy.
Robert Rubin, the former treasury secretary, works for him. But at the
beginning, he was the person least likely to succeed, which is what`s so
fascinating. And you still see that insecurity and worry and fear and
loving accolades even today, now that he`s a billionaire.
LAMB: Here`s a picture of him with some golfers, and one of those
golfers is Gerald Ford. What`s his role in all this?
LANGLEY: Gerald Ford was his first trophy director. When Sandy first
made his first empire, called Shearson, he got Gerald Ford, after he was
out of the presidency, to be a director. And they have become friends for
20 years, and Gerald Ford has become rich by holding the stock in Sandy`s
companies. And he`s very appreciative to Sandy for that.
LAMB: How did he get Bob Rubin to work for him?
LANGLEY: You know, that was a major coup. As you know, everybody
wanted Bob Rubin when he came out of the Clinton administration. And Sandy
was Sandy. He can be a salesman, from when he was selling little stocks as
a young man on Wall Street, to today. He wooed Rubin, calling him every
day, meeting with him every day for 30 days, and finally got Rubin to join
LAMB: Here`s a picture of three people. He`s in the center -- James
Robinson, who used to head up American Express, on the right. The one on
the left is James Robinson`s second wife, as you know. And she used to
work for the Republican National Committee.
LANGLEY: Right. Linda Gosden Robinson.
LANGLEY: It`s a great story between Jim Robinson and Sandy Weill.
Jim Robinson is a patrician, chairman of American Express. He brought in
Sandy when he bought Shearson, and they were the exact opposites, and they
could not get along. And ultimately, Jim Robinson won out over Sandy Weill
over who would control American Express, and it was Sandy`s most public
defeat in his career. But today they`re friendly.
LAMB: You said that...
LANGLEY: Don`t burn bridges.
LAMB: ... this man in this picture down here is the largest
stockholder in Citigroup.
LANGLEY: That`s right, Prince...
LAMB: What`s his name?
LANGLEY: ... al Waleed, Prince al Waleed of Saudi Arabia. He holds
about 5 percent of Citigroup. He`s obviously one of the richest men in the
world. And he bought Citicorp stock originally in the `90s, when the
company was on its knees and being practically run by the Fed. And today
it`s, you know, skyrocketed. And when Sandy went to visit him in the Saudi
desert, he was trying to win a spot over John Reed to take over Citigroup,
once the men merged Travelers and Citicorp. Kind of drawn out, but he`s an
LAMB: So here he is, dressed in Arab garb.
LAMB: You say he`s Jewish and grew up in Brooklyn.
LANGLEY: Right. Bensonhurst.
LAMB: With an Arab in the desert. And you say -- I mean, one of the
themes of your book is that being Jewish was difficult on Wall Street. Why
would that be?
LANGLEY: You know, it`s really interesting to look back in the 1950s.
It was a very WASPy place, although there were some Jewish firms, like
Goldman Sachs and others, but believe it or not, those firms tended to look
down upon Eastern European Jews and were more German Jewish. So Sandy is
the son of Polish immigrants, and so he was kind of the wrong kind of Jew.
But his whole life has been a lot of class struggle, not just Jewish but
coming from -- having no connections, no polish, you know, and he`s kind of
had to have these class struggles through his whole life.
LAMB: Here he`s pictured with former president Clinton and Jesse
Jackson. What`s this about?
LANGLEY: Interesting. Jesse Jackson and he are very close friends
today. Jesse Jackson initially was going to oppose one of Sandy`s
acquisitions in the early `90s, and they met. And at that point, they
bonded over their shared discrimination that they had felt growing up
because Sandy felt discriminated against, to some degree. Jesse Jackson
did, and was a Civil Rights leader. And so the two of them bonded over
several years and helped each other. It was a classic case of "You scratch
my back, I`ll scratch yours." Jesse Jackson was able to start the Wall
Street Project to move his Rainbow/PUSH coalition to New York with Sandy`s
Help. So he wanted to try to push to get more minorities onto Wall Street.
And then Sandy, in return, got backing of a huge Civil Rights leader. When
he wanted to get President Clinton and Congress to change the banking laws
to allow his huge $83 billion merger in 1998, Jesse Jackson turned out to
be an important ally.
LAMB: What degree of this was that they shared discrimination or that
they shared money?
LANGLEY: Well, Sandy has -- Sandy and Citigroup have backed Jesse
Jackson`s Wall Street Project. So you know, I mean, there`s been -- I
mean, Sandy does have the ability to -- I mean, a billionaire`s company is
the most profitable one in the world, so he has helped Jesse Jackson with
his causes financially.
LAMB: So why should someone who doesn`t buy stock or pay any
attention to the stock market care about your book? What`s in there -- in
this book that they can learn?
LANGLEY: You know, I think that Sandy`s life tells the story of Wall
Street and the financial industry for the last 50 years. And broader than
that, though, it also tells the story of American society because, as you
see the moves he`s making in business, you also see American society
changing. There`s some things in there about how he tried to help Carnegie
Hall, and he was using that also to break into the so-called "white glove
society" in New York. You know, from -- he was new money versus old money.
So you will see things about American history and just the pure power of a
personality and how that person has changed financial services and New York
LAMB: Joe Califano, former HEW secretary under Lyndon Johnson -- what
role did he play in this company?
LANGLEY: He was a director, and he -- you know, he and Sandy are not
really close. However, he came on the board when Sandy bought Travelers,
so they got to know each other then. And he is the one who advised Sandy
when Sandy was taking over Travelers, Get out of the health care business.
It`s going to be full of politics. Hillary Clinton is coming on the scene.
So he was instrumental in having Sandy get out of what turned out to be a
very troubled business.
LAMB: And he just fired him from the board, just like that.
LANGLEY: Yes. Sandy, as you will see, he expects loyalty, but
sometimes he`s not always as loyal to the people, you know, who work for
him or with him. And Joe Califano took it nicely, though, when he laid him
off the board. You know, he said, OK, I`ve done well with this company. I
understand. Other directors who were long-time friends didn`t like Sandy
shoving them aside as he was moving up the ladder.
LAMB: Frank Zarb, former energy secretary. On the board or on --
played a role in one of these companies?
LANGLEY: Yes. Yes. He -- you know what? He was the one who Sandy
first hired in the 1960s and the early `70s to set up a back office, which
turned out to be Sandy`s ticket to success on Wall Street because Sandy was
never able to walk in the front door because Wall Street wouldn`t let him
in to schmooze with the brokers, and he had no contacts. So he had to go
in the back door and work in the back office. He started as a runner at
Bear Stearns in the 1950s, even though he had a college degree. And he
learned the back office. And so then when he got control of a little firm,
a two-office firm that he started with three others -- Arthur Levitt being
one of them -- he knew he needed to set up a back office, and he brought in
Frank Zarb. And they always joked that they were nobodies and they ended
up doing very well financially. And Frank Zarb appears in and out through
this book in several of Sandy`s companies.
LAMB: Former CIA director John Deutsch.
LANGLEY: He is -- was a loyalist to John Reed. He was on the
Citicorp board. And in 1998, Sandy proposed to John Reed in a hotel room
here in D.C., when they were here for a business council meeting, Let`s
merge our two companies, which was a totally audacious, unbelievable idea.
John Deutsch was on the board of Citicorp, and when John Reed and Sandy
Weill ultimately fought with each other over who would control Citigroup in
the year 2000, John Deutsch was a supporter of John Reed. But Sandy won.
LAMB: Which person in this picture is John Reed, the one right there?
LANGLEY: Yes, that one.
LAMB: And where is he today?
LANGLEY: He`s very happy out of the company. I mean, he lost a
bruising battle to Sandy. There was a boardroom showdown in 2000, and he
lost. He thought that Sandy had promised the two of them would merge their
companies and leave together. John Reed was ready to retire and Sandy
wasn`t. Sandy outmaneuvered him the entire time. John Reed today has a
house in the south of France, and he teaches some and speaks, and he`s very
happy. He sold Citigroup stock when it was very high, and he`s a happy man
not worrying with the latest stock gyrations and what the market expects
Citi to do.
LAMB: How old is Sandy Weill?
LANGLEY: Sandy just turned 70 March 16th.
LAMB: And his title today?
LANGLEY: He`s chairman and CEO of Citigroup, and he has no intention
of giving it up any time soon. When most men would be -- or women at the
heads of corporations would be going to their golf course, he is committed
to stay there until he basically salvages his reputation and Citigroup
after the bruising fall this past year they`ve had with the Wall Street
LAMB: How big a company is Citigroup?
LANGLEY: Citigroup has a trillion dollars in assets. It`s a market
capitalization of nearly $200 billion. It is one of the top five largest
companies -- U.S. companies and the biggest financial conglomerate in the
LAMB: Where`s it physically located?
LANGLEY: It`s based in New York City, on Park Avenue, and -- but it
is in 100 countries. I mean, it is truly -- it`s -- and Sandy wants to
make it -- make it what a McDonald`s or a Coke is all over the world, so it
stands for financial services.
LAMB: What does it own?
LANGLEY: What does it own? A lot. Apart from Citibank, which you`ll
see on -- it`s not everywhere, but you see it on every street corner in New
York City. And also, it did own Travelers, and recently divested
Travelers, which was a big insurance company. It also owns Citicards (ph).
Did you know that 20 percent or 25 percent of all credit cards are from
Citibank in this country? So a lot of people watching probably have a
Citicard. It owns Citifinancial (ph), which makes consumer loans. They`ve
obviously named everything "Citi" these days. And then they have something
called PFS, which are independent insurance agents that sell to the middle
So what they -- what Sandy`s vision has been for a couple decades is
to create a financial empire that hits every market and provides you every
service -- his famous "cross selling."
LAMB: Where does he personally live?
LANGLEY: He has an apartment in Manhattan on 5th Avenue. He has a
mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut. And then he has a weekend place in the
Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. And he`s just completing a --
like, a lavish yacht that -- he sold on yacht and he`s getting a bigger
LAMB: How many children doe she have?
LANGLEY: He has two children, a son, Mark (ph), and a daughter,
Jessica (ph). They`re both in their 40s, and they have both worked in and
out of their father`s companies to some controversy over the years. Sandy
used to say he was in favor of nepotism. Today he`ll tell you he`s not.
LAMB: Jessica, whose picture is right here, you say -- the moment --
there`s a moment in the book that seems to be an important moment, when a
man named Jamie Dimon would not promote her within one of Sandy Weill`s
LANGLEY: Jamie Dimon was Sandy`s heir apparent, and almost like a son
to him. He was the alter ego, and he had started as an assistant straight
out of Harvard Business School with Sandy Weill. They had -- they built
Citigroup together. Sandy really wanted to promote Jessica. She is the
apple of his eye, and she`s a very savvy marketer. She wanted to head up
all of the mutual funds and investment management, and Jamie did not think
she was ready for the job and didn`t think she should do it. He thought
she should go out in the field and get some experience. And when Jamie
refused to do that and Jessica left the company, Sandy and Jamie`s
relationship was never the same. And Jamie ultimately was gone.
LAMB: How much time have you personally spent with Sandy Weill?
LANGLEY: I first met him three or four years ago, when I wrote a
page-one article for "The Wall Street Journal" on him. And then on this
book, I spent about two-and-a-half years on it, and I would see Sandy at
least once a month. But this is not his authorized biography. It`s an
independent project. So I interviewed 500 people, but clearly, I wanted it
to resonate with who Sandy -- you know, resonate with Sandy and so people
would recognize him. So I tried to spend as much time as he would allow,
although he went back and forth with me because he couldn`t control the
project. So sometimes he`d feel like cooperating and sometimes he
wouldn`t. But I stayed ahead and ultimately got unprecedented access
LAMB: Now, if you read your book, you can figure out often who talked
LANGLEY: I won`t say. I mean, some people are acknowledged as
sources, you know, but a lot of people didn`t want to be acknowledged as
sources, although everyone knew I would be describing it and writing it as
a narrative, you know, to say what they were doing, thinking, talking. So
you probably can see, and there`s some people in the back I thank for being
LAMB: Let me just read a quote. This is one, and I want to ask you
to talk about...
LAMB: ... the subject matter. "`You`re not loyal`" -- this is in
quotes. "`You`re not loyal, you SOB.`" He didn`t say it. He said the
LAMB: "Sandy reacted vociferously. `You should show me blood
loyalty, cut your wrists kind of loyalty. You didn`t support me.`" This
is around -- this is page 81, and I think they`re talking about Cohen.
LANGLEY: Yes, Peter Cohen...
LAMB: Peter Cohen.
LANGLEY: ... who was his deputy in building his first empire. And
that was when Sandy was trying to get ahead and get some position at
American Express. He was the president without a portfolio, and Jim
Robinson, the CEO, was basically running things and had the board locked
up. So this really kind of shows you the behind-the-scenes stuff that you
see. You think big business is decided by looking at the bottom line or a
ledger, and they`re sitting here having a fight, like brothers, about,
You`re not loyal to me, you SOB.
And you know, Sandy really expected him to slit his wrists. At one
point, in another scene in the book, the executives go off, and they`re all
fighting with each other. And some of them go in the kitchen and actually
slice their fingers and, you know, have, like, a blood oath that they`re
going to be together. So Sandy takes everything personally. That`s one of
his strengths and one of his weaknesses.
LAMB: On the page before that -- this is -- "Before Cohen could
explain, Sandy launched into a tirade, screaming, `You don`t know what the
F you`re talking about. You better not challenge me on this.`"
LAMB: There aren`t many people who could have told you that.
LANGLEY: Yes. Well...
LAMB: Unless Sandy told you that.
LANGLEY: Well, if there were people in -- I mean, I acknowledge in
the book that, you know, I talked to both Sandy and Peter Cohen. And so I
would obviously try to run anything by them and make sure that it`s
accurate. Also, there were people who would have heard that in a meeting
or at the bar. I don`t remember exactly which one that was. But there
could be other people who heard it at the time or were told it immediately
And you know that I did reconstruct dialogue in the book to try to
make it real, so you feel like you`re there. And I did it in a painstaking
fashion of trying to check it with the people who were there in the room,
who were participants, or who were told immediately thereafter about it, to
make it as -- as real as I possibly could. I mean, there`s always chances
there could be a word or two wrong or whatever, but I did reconstruct
dialogue and tried to do it with a huge amount of accuracy.
LAMB: Back to the lifestyle. At some point in the book, you talk
LAMB: How often...
LANGLEY: He loves his planes!
LAMB: How often does he use a helicopter to get to work?
LANGLEY: How often? You know, he uses it whenever it`s convenient.
I mean, if he wants to bop down to Washington, he`ll take the helicopter.
Or if he wants to go -- when he was at Travelers, and then he would want to
go stop in Greenwich or back to Manhattan, he would use it. I mean, he
uses whatever is convenient. He adores, however, his Gulfstream -- it was
a G-4, I guess now it`s a G-5 -- his jet, the luxury jet. And you know, in
one part, when he was trying to buy Smith Barney, he didn`t like that the
seller of Smith Barney had these golden parachutes. But if he was going to
give up the golden parachutes, by God, he wanted that Gulfstream that was
on order you know?
So you can see -- Sandy loves his perks, and you see that throughout,
that he can be -- I mean, he`s like a -- slice you up, cut costs
everywhere. You know, when he took over one company, he took out the
coffee pots. He made them water their own plants. And then he goes to
these elaborate dinners at night, where there`s, you know, four different
kinds of wine, six courses. You know, so he -- I mean, he would argue that
his perks help him do business and develop the camaraderie with the senior
management or with the clients or the people he`s doing deals with.
LAMB: Four Seasons restaurant.
LANGLEY: That is almost a character in and of itself in the book.
There`s a couple places that are real characters. One is Carnegie Hall,
and I think the other is the Four Seasons restaurant. It is the scene of
the true power lunch. You know, the origination of the power lunch was
with the Four Seasons restaurant. And Sandy goes there because he loves to
see and be seen. And when he was ousted from American Express and was in
corporate exile for a year-and-a-half, he took an office in the building
that the Four Seasons restaurant is in so he wouldn`t feel out of the
action, so he could go down and have a big lunch and have his two martinis.
And he would see the power players, and he would be one.
LAMB: He got a call -- I`m not sure that I remember for sure, but he
-- this man right here...
LANGLEY: Isaac Stern.
LAMB: ... gave him a call -- was it during the time that he didn`t
have a job?
LANGLEY: You know, he had started -- when he was with American
Express, you know, that gave him an imprimatur of the establishment. And
so he went on the Carnegie Hall board at the time. And then when he was
out of American Express, he was afraid that Carnegie Hall wouldn`t want him
any more. He didn`t have a position. He so identified with his company
that he never thought he was worthy in and of himself.
So he was -- he got a phone call from Isaac Stern, and he thought, Oh,
my God. He`s getting ready to ask me to leave the board. So he
volunteered, I`ll leave the board. And Isaac Stern said, No, I`m calling -
- you know, he`s the famed violinist. And Isaac Stern said, No, I`m
calling to tell you we want you more than ever. And actually, Carnegie
Hall turned out to be Sandy`s salvation when he was in corporate exile in
the mid-`80s because it allowed him -- he was raising funds for Carnegie
Hall, but he got to go out and see people and talk to the powers that be to
try to get their money, and it gave him something to do because he
literally was sitting there, watching a Quotron for a year-and-a-half,
trying to do deals, and nothing was happening.
LAMB: Now, it seems to me that if he sat there and watched that
Quotron every day, he had to tell you that. Or either that or his
LAMB: Was his assistant Alison Falls (ph)? Was that her...
LANGLEY: Yes, Alison Falls was his assistant, and Jamie Dimon was his
-- they were both assistants but different capacities.
LAMB: Jamie Dimon today is where?
LANGLEY: Jamie Dimon today is the chairman and CEO of Bank One in
Chicago, the nation`s fifth or sixth largest bank. And he got that job
after being in corporate exile himself, when Sandy fired him in 1998.
After finally making the big deal and buying Citicorp, Sandy fired Jamie in
what was a very gut-wrenching incident within the company because everybody
viewed them so together. And then Jamie -- it took him a year or so to
pick a job and get the right job, and he`s now in Chicago. And people
today think he wants to make a Wall Street play so badly, you know, to
compete against Citi or -- and Sandy, or they -- some people are quietly
hoping that one day he`ll come back and run Citi when Sandy finally exits.
LAMB: Go back to the loyalty thing. How many people that he expected
loyalty to him from did he fire over the years?
LAMB: Start naming the ones that you can think of.
LANGLEY: There`s a stream of names. For one thing, Frank Zarb you
talked about. At one point, he kicked Frank Zarb out to bring in Bob
Greenhill, who didn`t work out, a big star investment banker. He basically
pushed aside Peter Cohen, didn`t technically fire him, but basically pushed
him aside. Then you can go, you know, John Reed, who he`s promised a, you
know, great marriage at Citigroup. Ultimately, he pushed him out -- Jamie
Dimon. Those were the most obvious names, but it`s happened a lot, whether
it`s a director or someone who worked for him. I mean, people realize,
suddenly, they say, you know, you`re not getting phone calls from Sandy.
He`s not returned your call. You realize you`re on your way out, and some
people just decide to go. Or sometimes he fires them.
LAMB: Why does he think, then, people ought to be loyal to him? I
mean, it seems to me, in reading your book, that no one that worked for him
have ever felt at any time that they couldn`t be next.
LANGLEY: Yes, I think that`s true. And I think that that -- Sandy
uses that to his advantage because he wants them to feel on their toes and
feel like they`ve got to perform for him. He pushes people in the most
dramatic fashion. I mean, they are -- I was calling people in reporting
this book, they were in their office at 5:00 o`clock in the morning. These
are people that are multi-millionaires at -- or at 6:00 o`clock in the
morning, multi-millionaires running huge empires within Citigroup. And he
uses that to advantage to make them want to perform the best as they
And there is a thing about Sandy. Even though he can be a big bully
and can be vicious, he also can be charming and have a really sweet side to
him, believe it or not. And as a writer working on this book, I felt both
sides of his personality myself.
LAMB: There`s a quote on page 71, "`Not bad for a kid from Brooklyn,`
he confided to a friend. `The Jews are going to take over American
Express, and they`ll never know what hit them.`" Who said that?
LANGLEY: Sandy said that.
LAMB: Why would he say something like that?
LANGLEY: You know, American Express -- I called the chapter in the
Book "In the WASP Nest." It truly was a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant
empire, and the board was very much the Palm Beach, you know, private club
set. And so you could -- the defense were so stark between Sandy and his
team -- you know, like Franz Zarb and Peter Cohen all started with nothing
versus the button-down guys who came from privilege. You know, Jim
Robinson was the third or four-line banker from Atlanta. His family was
very well known.
So I don`t know what provoked Sandy to say that, but he used class
struggle to his advantage all the time. You know, if it weren`t -- if it
weren`t Jew versus WASP in -- not that he was doing it overtly -- you know,
it would be things like the rich versus poor or entrepreneur versus
establishment. He felt very entrepreneurial going into American Express,
and they were very establishment. And they wanted to send memos, and he --
he doesn`t read memos, and so he wasn`t performing the American Express
way. You know, so a lot of these things he uses to his advantage, and
they`ve been powerful motivators to him.
LAMB: Above that -- "With thousands of his employees listening, Sandy
sobbed openly" -- and you -- you often cite that he breaks down and cries.
LANGLEY: Yes. That is the -- that`s one of the endearing qualities.
He can be a really tough guy that you don`t want to cross, and then he has
so much emotion that, you know, when he sold Shearson and he wanted to --
he announced to his company that he had built from nothing, he broke down
and cried. There are a few times, as you say, in the book where he does
break down and cry.
He told me when he read the last chapter of this book, he broke down
and cried. So he`s -- he is an emotional guy. You know if he`s mad, and
you know if he`s happy.
LAMB: So what`s his reaction to your book.
LANGLEY: Mixed. His first reaction was -- he had it -- he wanted to
-- you know, he`s a control freak. All these people in powerful positions
are. And he first wanted to -- when he couldn`t control the book, then he
wanted the galleys when it was written. I wouldn`t give him the galleys.
Then he wanted, like, the first copy. He kept calling me right before it
came out, and I said no. Finally, I said, I will give you one of the first
copies that I get off the presses. You know, you are the subject of the
book. I`ll do that.
So he was at a senior management retreat. You know, he likes to go on
these retreats. He was down in the Bahamas. He had a car, a driver come
to my house at 7:00 o`clock on Friday morning -- on a Friday morning in
February two weeks before the book came out -- I had just gotten my copies
-- to pick it up and put it on the Gulfstream jet -- they were flying down
spouses and a couple other executives -- so he and a couple of his key
people could read it over the weekend.
I -- they came back after the weekend. I heard it was more popular
than a golf game. People were canceling their golf matches. And I talked
to him and several others, and his reaction -- he said, It`d be a great
read if it weren`t about me. But there`s a lot of things he doesn`t like
in it, and...
LAMB: Can you tell us some of those things he doesn`t like?
LANGLEY: OK. He doesn`t like some of the points that I make about
the class struggle. You know, I mean, he really doesn`t like seeing that
all laid out, or some of the personal idiosyncracies of his, of, like, you
know, that when he was in exile and I have him sleeping on the couch at the
-- in his office above the Four Seasons, and he was drinking and eating a
lot. And I have him sleeping on the couch with the tufted leather couch on
his cheek and, you know, saliva running out his mouth. He went, Why do you
have to put that? You know, he doesn`t like some of those things, and I
told him, I had to bring you to life. I felt my mission in writing this
book was to -- even though this is the world`s largest financial empire, is
to show what one man does. Like him or hate him, you`ll see what he does,
and I wanted to bring him to life. And I had to bring out his humanness,
to me, to make it readable to my family in Tennessee or to, you know, the
canyons of Wall Street.
LAMB: I wrote down some things that you said about him -- "a
voracious social climber."
LANGLEY: He loves to be seen, see each -- see the people, feel part
of them. He always -- I mean, for a while there, he was in "The New York
Times" society page, like, every other week. If there was an honor to be
given in the last few years, he wanted it.
LAMB: Why did he want this award so much?
LANGLEY: That is CEO of the Year award, and you know, people that
preceded him were Michael Dell, Jack Welch, you know, big heavy hitters.
And it`s not just the financial services, it`s CEO of the Year. That meant
a lot to him. He wanted that for the last few years, and he was afraid he
wasn`t going to get it. And when they called him to tell him that he was
going to get CEO of the Year, he started shivering, he was so excited. And
here`s this man -- this was just this past summer, and he was so excited,
he`s shivering. He flies in his mother-in-law from California, who never
wanted Joan to marry Sandy, never wanted her daughter to marry him. And it
was a very big deal. Of course, as you know, in the book, that very night
that he`s getting the honor he had coveted for so long, his whole crisis,
his whole career is breaking in front of him that exact same day.
LAMB: And what is that?
LANGLEY: That is the testimony on Capitol Hill of Jack Grubman, who
was his $20 million-a-year telecom analyst. And Jack Grubman was
testifying -- you know, Enron, WorldCom- these had gone bankrupt or were
scandal-ridden. And Citigroup, Salomon Smith Barney -- that`s another
thing I should have mentioned earlier, that he owns -- Salomon Smith Barney
was the key banker for these institutions, and Grubman was the analyst and
the banker on the transactions. So Grubman was hauled into Washington to
testify about his involvement.
So Sandy is sitting on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, about
to win this award. You know, everybody`s chattering. It`s cocktail hour.
It`s a beautiful black-tie gala. And on the TV screens on the New York
Stock Exchange floor, they keep airing the congressional testimony of
Grubman. So Sandy is sitting there, about to win the biggest award, and he
can`t help but notice over his shoulder are the TV screens where Jack
Grubman is saying -- they said, Did you favor big clients over small
And you know, Sandy`s rise had come through smaller investors. They
said, Did you favor big clients, you know, the big cats instead of the
small investor? And Jack Grubman is, like, I don`t know. I don`t know if
I did that. Maybe. You know, it was a very evasive, dismal performance.
And Sandy literally broke out in a sweat at -- that night, as this was
LAMB: So what -- what kind of fine did Citigroup get?
LANGLEY: Citi is -- it`s not final yet, but they negotiated in
December that the $1.3 billion settlement for all the securities industry,
and Citigroup will pay the largest amount, $400 million, in fine and other
LAMB: I should say this is being taped in early April, in case things
LAMB: Now, you say that -- that he was emotional about the last
chapter in this book. Well, that -- a lot that you`re talking about here
is in the last chapter.
LAMB: Why was he emotional about it?
LANGLEY: You know, because it really showed him going back to, like,
his core of having to be -- you know, for the last few years, he`s been,
like, a globe-trotter. You know, I mean, that`s one of the other things
that he loves is getting a big reputation and going and learning about
China -- I mean, a kid from Brooklyn now doing all this stuff. And he --
he had to -- with this crisis going -- and the stock of Citigroup
plummeted, I mean, 40 percent, just in, you know, a three-month period. It
lost a whopping $100 billion in market value. That`s a lot.
And so suddenly, he was on the fence. He was having to defend his
reputation and his company. And he kind of went back to the core. He had
gotten fat and happy, kind of. He lost 30 pounds. I call it the Spitzer
diet, named after Eliot Spitzer, the New York attorney general. And he
started reading everything again -- not reading so much, but talking about
everything, wanting to check everything. And at the end, when it`s finally
over and the initial settlement is announced, he says, Let`s go back to
work. And it`s, like, I`ve got to do it all over again. You know, Here I
am, having to prove my critics wrong again.
And I think what he was emotional about was there`s a scene near the
end where his top -- top management is at a gathering, one of their
retreats, in California, and Sandy speaks, Look, we`ve screwed up. We`ve
got to do better. We`ve got to get back on course -- because they were
going for every part of the business -- And we got to step back, look
what`s best for Wall Street, not just for our bottom line.
And when he finishes talking, he walks into the crowd, and they all
rush and basically circle him, and he disappears in the crowd. And that
was an emotional thing for him, and I guess reading it made him feel
LAMB: Why are they so emotional about him if he hasn`t been loyal to
his top people over the years?
LANGLEY: Well, for one thing -- that`s the thing. They -- this is
what I found out, Brian. It`s not -- it`s not an easy thing with Sandy.
You don`t love him or hate him. Even the people that are his best friends
strongly dislike certain things about him. Even people who hate him admire
certain qualities of his. So a lot of these key executives feel strongly
that he is leading them, you know, to greatness. I mean, the company is a
At the same time, they`ll all getting very rich. One person said to
me, You know, you hate it the whole time you`re getting wealthy. I mean,
these people all have stock options. Sandy was one of the first believers
in stock options back in the `80s, and -- so people who have stuck with
him, you know, from -- even secretaries to a chauffeur can be a millionaire
in his empire if they`ve stuck with him from the beginning.
LAMB: You say that Bob Rubin, who came out of the secretary of the
treasury job here in Washington, got a $33 million-a-year package...
LAMB: ... to work for him and not have any line responsibility.
LANGLEY: That`s right.
LAMB: Explain that.
LANGLEY: Well, that`s -- that`s interesting because Rubin did not
want to go and be a hands-on manager again. You know, he had run Goldman
Sachs before he went to be the treasury secretary. He was such a big get.
You know, Rubin was so highly sought after, and he gives so much cachet to
any company who got him, they`re willing to give him a very lucrative
package. He does bring things to the table, though. I mean, Citigroup
last year bought Banamex (ph), one of the two largest banking empires in
Mexico. And that was done because the Mexican banker called Bob Rubin and
said, I`m thinking about maybe wanting to sell our bank. And so Sandy and
Rubin got on a helicopter, flew down to Mexico City, got on a helicopter
and went to a hacienda in Mexico and worked out a deal in 24 hours to buy
this huge banking institution in Mexico, which is going to be key with the
cross-country between Mexico and the United States.
LAMB: How much of that came from Bob Rubin`s time at the secretary of
the treasury`s job?
LANGLEY: Oh, that was clearly part of it because he helped negotiate,
you know, Mexico during its financial crisis.
LAMB: What does Gerald Ford do for him? And how much did he do for
Gerald Ford? You have any idea how much money he made off of this board
LANGLEY: You know, no, I don`t know the total amount that he made,
but he -- I did meet with Gerald Ford in the presidential suite at the
Waldorf Hotel, when he was in for a board meeting with Citigroup, to
interview him for the book. And he did tell me that he has set up trusts
for his family and things for -- from Citigroup stock. And he`s very
appreciative because, as you know, a lifelong politician like Ford would
not have that much wealth. So he`s done well. I can`t quantify it,
though. I don`t...
LAMB: How`d he use him?
LANGLEY: Oh, my gosh. Well, he used him as his trophy. I mean, he
would trot him out, and he gave him the kind of credibility that he really
hadn`t had. You know, when he was ousted from American Express, he
basically had to start over. And Gerald Ford was one of his first big
board members when then he acquired this dinky consumer finance company
called Commercial Credit in Baltimore. He first put Ford on Shearson in
1980, and then he brought him back to be on the board in 1986, when he
bought another company. So Ford helped him just in the credibility.
And Sandy would work him, you know, having him go to companies and
talk to brokers and clients and things like that. So he did have a role,
and it was mostly -- now, I do know, in some board meetings, he would ask
Ford, at the dinner the night before a board meeting, What`s your opinion
on what`s happening, you know, in politics and government, things like
that. So he would ask questions.
LAMB: How much money does he pay himself every year?
LANGLEY: This year, he just had a -- "just" -- a million-dollar -- he
took a million-dollar salary, and he refused a bonus because the stock did
so poorly. But a couple years ago, he made over $200 million, if you count
his -- his salary, his bonus and the exercise of his stock options.
LAMB: How much is he worth?
LANGLEY: He is worth -- he was worth more before the Wall Street
crisis happened last fall. He was getting close to $2 billion. Now he`s
in the billion-plus range. That`s his worth, based on Citigroup stock.
And most of his wealth is tied up in Citigroup stock, which is why he says
he`s not like, you know, some of these people who cashed out of their
companies right before they went down. He -- his wealth is integrally
involved with how well the company does or doesn`t do.
LAMB: And what role does his wife play in all this?
LANGLEY: I called Joan the most important merger of his career, and
that`s pretty significant because he`s probably done hundreds of mergers,
big and small. She was the one who believed in him when no one would. Her
parents didn`t want her to marry him when they met in their early 20s. And
they married early in life, and she has stuck with him, and she is the
ultimate corporate wife. You know, we`ve seen a lot of them over years,
and she truly is. She has stayed with him through thick and thin and bucks
him up when he -- when he is really down. And she also gives him, I found
out, a lot of savvy advice, particularly about people he should trust or
not trust. So executives tell me she`s very much a power behind the
LAMB: How long have you been with "The Wall Street Journal"?
LANGLEY: Over a dozen years. I started with "The Journal" in `83,
after I got out of Georgetown Law School, and was with "The Journal" until
`89, and then left to go practice law, to try that for a few years. And I
rejoined "The Journal" in `96.
LAMB: Why did you do that?
LANGLEY: Well, you know, I`d just covered the `88 presidential
campaign, which is grueling, and I had just gotten married. And I thought
maybe I want to practice law, make more money, you know, have a different
kind of life, see if I like it, because I did enjoy law school. And I did
enjoy it, and I`m glad I did it because now it makes me a better journalist
because when I`m interviewing people, I understand from their perspective
because I represented clients who were in the press and who had to face
crises. And so I really understand more of how they`re doing it. And I
practiced corporate law, which is helpful to me as a "Wall Street Journal"
reporter, to understand more than just the basics.
LAMB: Where did you practice corporate law?
LANGLEY: In Knoxville, Tennessee. I went home to my home town.
LAMB: You grew up in Knoxville, from -- years to years, were you
there -- what...
LANGLEY: Let`s see. I was born in `58, so I stayed there and went to
the University of Tennessee, graduated with a journalism major, then came
to Georgetown. I only looked at two law schools, really, Columbia and
Georgetown, because I still thought I wanted to be a journalist, and New
York and Washington were very good journalism towns, and really liked
Washington when I came to visit Georgetown, and so did that. Then I moved
to New York for "The Wall Street Journal." I covered AT&T and
telecommunications more than you want to know. Then moved back here to cover
Congress and banking regulators and the presidential campaign, then
practiced law, and then moved back to New York to be with "The Wall Street
Journal." And I`ve written -- been writing page one stories for "The
Journal" since `96.
LAMB: Who`s this fellow, Roger Wallace?
LANGLEY: My husband! He`s with CBS, and that was another reason we
moved back to New York, because he can obviously be involved with the
network right there in New York City, and "The Wall Street Journal" is in
New York. And so he was really the one who carried a lot of the burden of
home. And we have a 4-year-old daughter. So he helped tremendously.
This book wouldn`t have been possible without his being, you know,
there to hold things down, even though he had a full-time job, because once
I started writing, it`s such a solitary process, and it`s so consuming, and
especially on Sandy Weill, who, as we`ve talked about, has his -- he can go
hot and cold with people, and he did with me. So sometimes I would feel
miserable -- you know, Am I ever going to get him to open up about this, or
What am I going to do? And sometimes I would feel so high, you know, that
I`ve really nailed this. I`ve got it. And so Roger was there with me as
a fellow journalist, kind of knowing what I was going through.
LAMB: So when did you feel the biggest high after talking to Sandy
LANGLEY: I never felt the biggest high after talking to Sandy. It
wasn`t any conversations with Sandy. It would be when I felt that I really
knew the inside of what happened, that I`d got it.
LAMB: When was it?
LANGLEY: Oh, gosh. There were several times. The biggest high -- I
think one key time was when the board -- I really felt like I understood
what happened at the board meeting. There was a huge showdown...
LAMB: Which board meeting?
LANGLEY: Between John Reed and Sandy Weill of who would control the
world`s largest financial empire. And Bob Rubin turned out to be key
there, and you really saw these people -- they were -- the directors of
some of the biggest companies in the world are on the Citicorp board,
Citigroup board. And they ended up deciding things based on ego, John
Reed`s ego, or, Sandy really wants the job so bad, should we let him have
it? Has he misled us? And you get to see how ego, ambition, greed, petty
-- sometimes petty things and other times very basic human emotions can be
important in what happens in a financial empire or in corporate America.
So that was one of the times when I felt like I`d really gotten what
happened, to show -- I want to show a reader, kind of like a fly on the
wall, you know, how -- what`s it like if you were in the room? And someone
actually called me afterwards and said, Even though I knew how it came out,
I was reading it with bated breath, what was going to happen next. And to
me, that`s a great compliment, when people, like, kind of know who won, but
you still want to read and see how did it happen.
LAMB: Is there anybody that you tried to talk to in this that
wouldn`t talk to you?
LANGLEY: You know, almost everybody talked to me. There were a few
people that did not talk to me, but none that I think were so key that I
feel the book is not representative. I mean, John Reed is a key character,
and he did not want to cooperate. He wanted Citigroup out of his life, and
he was glad to be gone. I did see him and chat with him on different
things that I pushed. Yes, John Reed is the one on the left. Yes.
LAMB: Bob Rubin on the right, Sandy Weill in the middle, and John
Reed on the left. And his job, again, was, when this all started?
LANGLEY: He was the chairman and CEO of Citicorp. He was a legendary
banker. All the ATMs you see on every street corner is because of John
Reed. He had the technological vision to do that. And he put Citicorp
into 100 countries. So Sandy really, when he proposed Travelers, his
insurance and securities empire, merge with Citicorp, he was getting the
benefit of a great institution that had been around a long time. It had
had trouble, but before John Reed, it was Walter Wriston (ph). It`s a
legendary bank.And back in the days when Sandy was trying to break in on Wall Street,
you know, he would see the Citicorp building, you know, the Citibank
building, which has legends of finance around it, you know? And they were
shutting the doors on Sandy Weill. So Citicorp was very important to Sandy.
It was what he called the mother of all deals. If he could ever do that,
then he would have succeeded. And John Reed was his way to get Citicorp.
He got John Reed to agree. But then in the boardroom showdown we talked
about, he got rid of him.
LAMB: What year?
LANGLEY: This was in 2000, spring of 2000.
LAMB: How long did it take for him to get rid of him?
LANGLEY: Two years. At first, they had a great honeymoon. You know,
it was a very quick courtship...
LAMB: But they were co-COO...
LANGLEY: They were co...
LANGLEY: Yes, they were co-chairmen and co-CEOs. And Sandy proposed
that. He said, Let`s do this together. We won`t -- we`ll share power.
And both -- when they took the deal to their boards, the Citicorp board and
the Travelers board, the boards were, like, Oh, my God. Are you kidding?
You both have huge egos. You both are used to running your own shows.
This will never work. And Reed and Sandy Weill told them, Yes, it will.
We`ve known each other for 30 years. We`ll make it work.
So they had it -- they did -- they did this deal. At the time, it was
the biggest merger ever, $83 billion. They did it in six weeks, negotiated
only by them and a couple close aides. They didn`t want to involve anyone
else because they didn`t want it to leak out because there would be a lot
of potential opposition to this deal because they were breaking down
barriers in financial services.
And then, at the beginning, they were very lovey-dovey. You know,
they were on a honeymoon. Oh, Sandy, you`re so good at operations, Reed
would say. What do you say? And then Sandy would say to Reed, Oh, you`re
so good at strategy. What do you think? So they were all lovey-dovey.
But when it got down to the nitty-gritty of running this day in and day
out, they were so different, they couldn`t co-exist. And then it became a
LAMB: So how`d he do it?
LANGLEY: He -- basically, he just put his nose to the grindstone and
got all his people in the most powerful operational positions. See, John
Reed was getting tired of basically running things, worrying about the
bottom line, worrying about the stock price...
LAMB: We should say, though, that -- you point out that they agreed
to retire, they thought, at the same time, or at least John Reed though.
LANGLEY: John Reed thought that they would put this deal together and
then leave as soon as the deal was solid, as soon as the merger had
happened and it was working well. John Reed understood that they would
leave together. Sandy apparently never told him, Oh, no. That`s wrong.
But he never told him, Oh, yes. That`s right.
And there`s one scene on the night -- the night before the deal was to
be announced on -- you know, in New York, Sandy`s loyal general counsel
notices some language in a filing that says, And then when the deal is
done, they will leave together. And he calls John Reed`s lawyer the night
before the deal is to be announced and says, Wait a minute. This isn`t the
deal. And John Reed`s lawyer says, It is the deal, and that`s what John
Tells me. And Sandy`s person said, You may think they`re going to ride
into the sunset together, but Sandy hasn`t told me that. And at that
point, they were -- it would stop the whole deal, and they said, Well, it`s
not really imperative that it be in this SEC filing, so we`ll take it out.
But that was the beginning, when John Reed should have been aware that
Sandy really never intended to leave so quickly. This is Sandy`s life. He
loves his work.
LAMB: Who`s on that board now?
LANGLEY: Let`s see. Bob Rubin is on that board. There -- you know,
Gerald Ford is still on the board. Interestingly, Ruben Mark (ph), the
chairman and CEO of Colgate-Palmolive, has just decided to go off the
board. He was on the Citicorp originally board, and he has become so
frustrated with Sandy, when -- when they did oust John Reed in 2000, Sandy
committed that within two years, he would -- a successor would be in place
or the process would be working. And that was how they were to stroke each
other`s ego. Well, John, we`re not just picking Sandy over you. Sandy
will have to leave at some point.
And here it is 2003, Sandy`s not leaving. He doesn`t have a clear
successor. In fact, he loves to confuse who might be his heir apparent.
So Ruben Mark at a recent board meeting said to the board, this very elite
board, Look, don`t we need to be talking about successors? We can`t just
leave this to a little committee. We`ve got to -- this is one of the
biggest jobs we need to do. What if something happens to Sandy tomorrow?
And the board`s, like, Let`s leave it to the committee. And in
frustration, Ruben Mark, the chairman of Colgate-Palmolive, has recently
decided not to stand for reelection for the board.
LAMB: Is Prince al Waleed on the board?
LANGLEY: No, he is not on the board.
LAMB: And he owns $7 billion worth of the stock?
LANGLEY: Yes. Yes, it`s 5 percent of Citi, and he is not on the
LAMB: Does he not want to be on the board?
LANGLEY: You know, he hasn`t expressed any interest. And I did
interview him for the book. And obviously, if he calls Sandy Weill or Bob
Rubin, they`ll take his call, but he says he`s a passive investor and that
it`s done well for him. So I don`t -- I don`t know that he doesn`t keep --
he knows everything when it`s happening, though. They keep him abreast.
LAMB: Go back to the -- he originally invested $500-some million?
LAMB: What year was that?
LANGLEY: That was in 1991, I think. I may be off a little, but it
was in the early `90s, when Citigroup -- Citicorp was really having a lot
of trouble and because of the third world losses and things like that, the
company was doing poorly.
LAMB: Go back to the Jack Grubman story. Again, Jack Grubman was
who? What was his job?
LANGLEY: Jack Grubman was an analyst, and -- for Salomon Smith
Barney. And an analyst is supposed to write what companies to invest in
for their millions of investors. And his expertise was telecommunications.
So he was touting WorldCom like crazy. Well, unbeknownst to the investing
public, he was also advising WorldCom on what to do and was very close to
the CEO. None of this came out until the stock market plummeted in the
last year or so, and then you have investors and regulators and politicians
looking for who to blame. We invested tons of money in WorldCom. Today
it`s worthless. It`s bankrupt. And then you start unraveling and finding
Jack Grubman was a key player, telling investors to buy in WorldCom even as
it was tanking, and he was advising...
LAMB: Let me ask you, though, about the AT&T thing.
LAMB: Mike Armstrong was a member of the board of Citigroup?
LAMB: And Sandy Weill was a member of the board of AT&T.
LANGLEY: Correct. And you know, that`s happened a lot in years past,
where directors are on each other`s boards. The question became here that
Sandy -- the one stock that Grubman was criticizing was AT&T. Sandy was on
the board of AT&T, and he would -- he wanted Grubman to quit being so down
on AT&T. Sandy and Armstrong believed in AT&T. Now, they were on each
other`s boards, as note. So finally, Grubman gives -- finally, Grubman
improves his rating when Sandy says, Take a fresh look.
Now, Sandy says that he never told Grubman what to write in his
reports. However, I guess a lot of people say if your boss tells you take
a fresh look and you know he`s on the AT&T board, you know he wants you to
say something good. Grubman did change his rating to a positive one on
AT&T. Then AT&T -- then Salomon Smith Barney got more business
underwriting AT&T`s stock and other securities offerings. And then when
everything kind of broke down, the e-mails were discovered that Grubman was
writing to people at the time -- I changed my rating on AT&T to help Sandy
win the battle with John Reed and get Armstrong`s vote and because then
Sandy would help get my kids into an influential pre-school in Manhattan.
LAMB: The 92nd Y.
LANGLEY: The 92nd Street Y, one of the posh pre-schools in Manhattan.
LAMB: A hundred and seventy kids at the school.
LANGLEY: Yes. I mean, it`s -- you know, probably costs $10,000 a
year to send your child -- your tot, your 3-year-old.
LAMB: Did Citigroup or Sandy Weill give that school a million
LANGLEY: Citigroup gave that school a million dollars in Grubman`s
behalf -- on Grubman`s behalf.
LAMB: How can that happen, though? I mean, if I`m a stockholder of
Citigroup, what are they doing giving a million dollars to that school?
LANGLEY: Well, apparently, Sandy did make a call to the 92nd Street Y
and say, you know, If you could help Grubman`s kids get in -- Grubman --
Sandy did not know that -- he says he did not know the content of the e-
mails and that Grubman was changing his rating to get Sandy`s help. Sandy
said he helped Grubman just because he was a valued employee, and Grubman
said, Will you make the call to the 92nd Street Y? I know who you know is
more important than anything in New York City. And obviously, Sandy Weill
had become a big name. So Sandy called, and then he said, And look,
Citigroup will help out, and he gave a million-dollar donation.
Now, they view it -- I talked to directors. This is a very, you know,
unusual thing to have occurred. And I did speak to directors, and they say
it was presented to them as additional compensation for Grubman, to give
him an additional million dollars. But Grubman was making $20 million a
year. He really could have made his -- written his own million-dollar
check. But it meant more coming from Sandy Weill`s Citigroup. And that`s
why it was given.
LAMB: How much time do you think people would give Sandy Weill if he
wasn`t the CEO of this company and wasn`t worth the kind of money he`s
LANGLEY: Gosh! That`s the great -- who knows? I mean...
LAMB: Well, what`s your suspicion after talking to people and having
them level with you behind the scenes?
LANGLEY: You know, there are a lot of people that when he was under
fire and on the front pages of the newspaper that were privately cheering.
I mean, there are a lot of people that he has crossed and done deals who,
you know, don`t like him and think it`s time for him to get his comeuppance
and get what he deserves. There are other people that still think it`s
very unfair. He`s done a lot. He`s given a lot of charitable
contributions, $200 million to Cornell Medical Center, now named the
Cornell-Weill Medical Center, a lot to Carnegie Hall. They think he`s, you
know, really tried to help, you know, community, the society, as well as --
he`s made a lot of people rich. If you owned Citigroup stock, you`d be a
wealthy person right now.
LAMB: Other things you write about him -- he`s a poor speaker.
LANGLEY: Yes. You know, some people say that he uses the same 50 or
100 words in all conversations. And not only does he have a somewhat
limited vocabulary, he also is a very nervous speaker. And he has
increased in stature, it`s required more public speaking. And so he truly
does break out in a sweat any time he has to speak.
LAMB: You say he has erratic mood swings. I`m just feeding back
words that you wrote.
LANGLEY: Yes, yes, yes. I think that that`s true. He`s a very
mercurial, unpredictable person. And that`s what makes him hard to work
for, I think, because sometimes you don`t know if you`re up or you`re down
with Sandy, people tell me. And he`ll yell at you like crazy on one day,
and then the next day he`ll act as if nothing`s happened.
LAMB: You say he`s -- temper tantrums and screaming fits.
LANGLEY: Yes. That`s...
LAMB: Managed by gossip.
LANGLEY: Yes. You know, he manages by gossip or roaming around. And
he -- you know, he doesn`t -- some CEOs like memos and detailed analysis.
Part of Sandy`s strength is he not only operates on what is sound
strategically, but he goes with his gut. And he looks somebody in the eye
and tries to decide, Can I trust this person? Am I -- can I work with this
person? So he loves to roam by managing or by gossip to get the true
story, not just what`s on paper, because he doesn`t really operate by the
written word. I mean, he does not read memos. If I were to walk in with a
three-page memo, he`d turn it over, say, What are you here to talk about?
That`s the way he is.
LAMB: Couple of small things, but incidents in the book that I want
to ask you about -- the blood incident at Greenbriar...
LAMB: ... over a Shearson and Loeb Rhoades (ph) merger or something. I
don`t -- I mean...
LANGLEY: Yes, it was -- you know -- yes. It`s a big merger. He was
trying to buy -- he`s always merging, buying a bigger name, a bigger
company, and then applying his management skills to the company. That was
a particularly thorny merger. It was so huge. He was buying Lowbrodes, a
big name, his Shearson empire in the late `70s, and I mean, everything was
unraveling. They couldn`t put the back offices together. People were
calling, saying, Where`s my stock? Customers all over the nation were
saying, Where`s my stock? I can`t find it. I mean, it was, like -- they
were about to have a meltdown.
And so the marketing people were blaming the technology people. They
were blaming the brokerage for selling stocks when they should have settled
down until the merger`s in place. You know, it was a blame game. He took
all his executives down to Greenbriar, and they had a couple days of
golfing and drinking. And late one night, you know, he really wants this
blood loyalty, he`ll call it. And so some took him to heart! And they
went in the kitchen and got a knife, cut -- pricked their fingers
….blood oath that they would make it work. They came back
from Greenbriar and pulled off what was then such a huge merger that
suddenly Sandy Weill`s empire was second only to Merrill Lynch in the
1970s. And this is from a guy who started from nothing.
LAMB: The Augusta National Golf Club.
LANGLEY: Yes. That`s so important to Sandy because it is the
establishment. It means you have arrived. And as you see him from the
book, from starting with -- you know, from being the son of immigrants and
his dad left home and, you know, all these things that he felt like he
always had a bunch of burdens, to be admitted to Augusta National was a big
thing to Sandy. He loved it. And you know who got him in was Jim
Robinson, his arch-enemy at American Express. Jim Robinson bested Sandy at
American Express, and then fast forward, 20 years later, who helps get him
into Augusta? Jim Robinson. And because by that point, Jim Robinson has
been ousted from American Express himself, and he needs Sandy Weill`s
Travelers empire to give him -- he wants to set up a venture fund, and he -
- Sandy -- and Travelers are one of his first investors. So you know, you
see these relationships. People come and go.
And one thing you`ll see is Sandy somehow, even though he`ll blast
someone or someone will cross him, these relationships come and go. And
that`s interesting. Through the book, you`ll see a lot of legends of
business that he has worked with. It`s funny.
LAMB: In the end, what did -- what do you think of him?
LANGLEY: Gosh! I kind of have a mixed opinion. I think Sandy is a
likable person, and I -- and in some ways, he`s very likable. Other ways,
he`s very hard to deal with. I`m not sure I`d want to work for him. I`m
glad I wrote a book and he didn`t have control of it, which was an issue
ongoing with him. But he -- gosh! He`s mixed. I feel like the people --
I interviewed so many people. I would say, Do you love him or hate him?
And they say, Both. I think that`s what a lot of people feel about Sandy
Weill. And to me, I feel I`ve done my job because at the beginning, I knew
it wasn`t going to be a Valentine nor a hatchet job. You know, I wanted
this to be a serious biography that would be readable. So there are parts
of Sandy that I like and some parts that I don`t.
LAMB: Anybody mad at you besides Sandy Weill?
LANGLEY: Sandy`s a little bit mad.
LAMB: And has he had feedback on this book?
LANGLEY: He`s had feedbackand a lot of people tell him they`ve read
it, and they`re asking him to sign the book, that they admire him for
everything he`s done. You know, other people say, Oh, my God! How has
this man risen to the top with these tactics? So you know, the great thing
is, he`s a larger-than-life personality, and you can really follow...
LAMB: Anybody else...
LANGLEY: ... what`s happened...
LAMB: Anybody else mad at you?
LANGLEY: Mad at me?
LAMB: Anybody else not like the book? Anybody else said, You
LANGLEY: I think not. You know, even the president of Citigroup and
others called and said, You know, you really nailed it.
LAMB: Monica Langley, our guest. This is what the book looks like,
"Tearing Down the Walls." It`s about Sandy Weill and Citigroup. Thank you
LANGLEY: Thank you. My pleasure.
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