Felix Salmon

Where does John Mackey get his power?

December 28, 2009

Nick Paumgarten’s 9,000-word profile of John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, obviously went to press too late to incorporate the news that he’s finally stepping down as chairman of the company.

Ken Lewis and the regulators

November 9, 2009

The WSJ has an interesting Ken Lewis profile today:

If there was a bank executive who seemed to have the mettle to withstand today’s regulatory and market pressures, it was Ken Lewis. The Mississippi native clawed to the top of Bank of America. After succeeding his mentor, Hugh McColl Jr., as chairman and CEO in 2001, Mr. Lewis kept up a blistering pace of acquisitions and tight control of operations at the bank, which expanded to $2.3 trillion in assets from some $620 billion.

John Reed apologizes

November 6, 2009

John Reed wasn’t even on the list of people who I thought should apologize for their role in creating the bubble which led to the financial crisis. But good for him for doing so:

Headless BofA

November 6, 2009

Mark DeCambre is right: it seems that BofA is going to remain headless at least until Thanksgiving. No outsider seems to want the job — the list of people who have turned it down seems to include everybody who works or has ever worked at JP Morgan, plus former BofA executive Michael O’Neill, who went on to head up both Barclays and Bank of Hawaii. Meanwhile, the leading insider, Brian Moynihan, can’t conceivably be tapped until after his Congressional testimony on November 17.

CEOs: Founders beat out managers

November 5, 2009

We’re less than two months from a New Year’s where a 9 ticks over into a 0, and so that means all manner of decade retrospectives. (And still we haven’t come up with a name for this decade!) Fortune is getting into the game early, naming Steve Jobs its CEO of the decade, for his work at Apple.

The men with Geithner’s ear

October 8, 2009

The AP tallies Tim Geithner’s phone calls:

In the first seven months of Geithner’s tenure, his calendars reflect at least 80 contacts with Blankfein, Dimon, Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons or Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit…

The defenestration of Bill Winters

October 7, 2009

Why did Jamie Dimon fire Bill Winters as head of JP Morgan’s investment bank? According to Bloomberg, it’s because he felt Winters shouldn’t be CEO of the bank as a whole. And so, by the inexorable up-or-out logic of Wall Street, Winters was out.

Why give Ken Lewis a break?

October 3, 2009

Tom Lindmark says I should give Ken Lewis a break:

Felix Salmon made a good point in a post yesterday when he said that running a mega bank was not something that any individual was capable of doing…

Choosing BofA’s CEO

September 30, 2009

Running a bank the size of BofA is impossible. So long as the Fed does its best to make the banking system profitable, you could put a baked Alaska in charge and the bank would throw off billions of dollars a year in profits. The job of the CEO is not really about managing down, so much as managing out — repairing relationships with Andrew Cuomo, Sheila Bair, Barney Frank, Mary Shapiro, Elizabeth Warren, and other Washington VIPs. The board will want an experienced manager, to be sure. But they’ll really want someone with political skills, who can calm the savage beast that has woken up DC and which is eyeing the giant of Charlotte.