James Taylor to CEO’s: Be a “Walkin’ Man”

June 5, 2008

jamestaylor.jpgInvestment bank Sandler O’Neill took a page from the Oscars when it looked for ways to signal to speakers at its exchanges industry conference this week that time was up. But rather than playing orchestral music, as the Oscars do to drown out endless speeches by stars wanting to thank everyone from their pet’s shrink to the Almighty, Sandler O’Neill turned to James Taylor and his saccharine folk-pop to tell the high-powered CEOs they should be “Fading Away.”

While Taylor might have brought relief to the analysts hearing yet another CEO promise revenue-growth for the next umpteen quarters, some members of the audience could be overheard expressing dismay at hearing James Taylor all morning. Music played between sessions and even during sessions – at one point in the middle of Nasdaq OMX CEO Robert Greifeld’s talk, someone cued the music, but he continued, unmoved by Taylor’s crooning.

But one CEO didn’t seem to mind – after giving a presentation during which he roundly criticized rival exchange Nasdaq OMX, NYSE Euronext CEO Duncan Niederauer was interrupted by the music in mid-sentence, and said, “at least it’s James Taylor giving me the hook.”

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