In January 2001, Sandy Weill, the then chairman AND CEO of Citigroup, spoke to students at Columbia Business School as part of a Distinguished Leaders lecture series. Here are some of his musings.
Weill advised that the MBA students should go work for a firm 'where you can make mistakes without being shot, because nobody is perfect'.
He stressed that mergers only worked when all parties were treated with respect. And he mentioned his view that making a few mistakes was better than making no decisions. He also confirmed that he would rather go out and speak directly to his staff in order to find out their views, rather than send them a memo.
At the time, Weill's three biggest business concerns were:
Mitigating risk at Citigroup
The impact of government on the ecomony
Where to take Citigroup next.