Why the CEO Talent Pool Is So Small

As Citi, Merrill searches show, Wall Street is now a tough place to grow managers
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2007 4:47 PM CST
Stanley O'Neal, Chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch & Co. is seen in New York in this Nov. 1, 2006 file photo. Merrill Lynch, the world's largest brokerage, said Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2007 its embattled Chief...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – With Citigroup and Merrill Lynch both suddenly searching for new CEOs, the Wall Street Journal looks at why the list of contenders for the top jobs at Wall Street's biggest firms is so short. Start with an earn-or-die corporate culture, which taints talented chief executives who fail to deliver in short order, as well as division heads who tend to be sacrificed to an unhappy board when they have a bad quarter.

Both Charles Prince and Stan O'Neal purged their share of top executives, leaving Citigroup and Merrill to look outside for candidates. But finding outsiders to run financial conglomerates is tough, too—a candidate who has experience on, say, the investment side or the commercial banking side, but not both, may not be considered competent to lead their many enterprises. (Read more Citigroup stories.)