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.)