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Alberto Cribiore Takes Interim Leadership Role at Merrill Lynch After Stanley O’Neal Resigns

Serving as CEO is risky business. Just ask a few former top executives at Wall Street firms.

Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MER) chairman and CEO Stanley O’Neal resigned today. Merrill Lynch board member Alberto Cribiore has been named the interim CEO. Cribiore will also headCEO chopping block.jpg the search for a new CEO.

There is little doubt that pressure from the board facilitated his departure after Merrill Lynch announced its biggest quarterly loss in its history,

According to Forbes,

“The announcement capped days of speculation about O'Neal's future as chief executive of Merrill, which is reeling from its outsized exposure to credit derivatives and subprime debt. Last week, Merrill stunned Wall Street by reporting $8.5 billion in write-downs, far greater than it had forecast just weeks before, and its biggest ever quarterly loss.”

O'Neal is the highest-profile executive but not the first CEO to lose his job this year in the aftermath of the sub-prime meltdown. That honor goes to Peter Wuffli, CEO of UBS AG (NYSE:UBS) who abruptly resigned in July after his firm suffered substantial losses from sub-prime mortgage holdings and was compelled to shut down its Dillon Read hedge fund unit.

Markets rise and fall and the pressure for leaders to deliver financial results (especially public companies) is significant. What leadership could these two men have provided that would have lessened the impact of a failing market? How could they have managed the risk more effectively? What lessons are there for a new CEO at Merrill Lynch and how will the board use an assessment of O’Neal’s failure to assure a new leader is better equipped to manage such risks?

To me one thing is clear, effective leaders must have vision and clear strategic objectives. Chasing hot markets with a short-term gain in mind often is the downfall of a leader. It is defined core values, standards and clear objectives that can should a leader. Effective leaders can sieze opportunities but such opportunities should always fall with the established strategic plan.

1 Comments/Trackbacks

» Alberto Cribiore Names as Merrill Lynch Leader Amid Sub-prime Meltdown from Know More Media
Alberto Cribiore was named as interim non-executive chairman of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MER) after chairman and CEO Stanley O’Neal abruptly resigned today. Cribiore will head the search for a new CEO. The announcement of O’Neal... [Read More]

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