If you are anything like us, the different cultures of different banking operations is more than a minor obsession. So we were all too pleased to discover that the blogger behind Information Arbitrage has set out on a "Wall Street Series" about his personal experiences on the inside. The first post in the series details his very different experiences at Citibank (where he worked prior to a just after its merger with Travelers) and Deutsche Bank (where he worked after the acquisition of Bankers Trust).
But let's start with this quote focused on how the Citi-Travelers merger destroyed Citi's corporate culture:
Then one day it was announced that Citicorp and Travelers were merging. And there would be Co-CEOs. HA! We all know how that movie ended - Sandy Weill, the consummate operator, completely outmaneuvered the brilliant yet introverted and apolitical John Reed, and the Co-CEO thing ended pretty quickly. Travelers/Salomon Brothers had won, and Citi had been vanquished. So what did this mean in the trenches? Full disclosure: I thought the merger sucked. I was part of the Institutional Investor #1 ranked derivatives shop in the world two years running at Citi, yet was part of a team relegated to taking a back seat to people staffing the #17 ranked derivatives shop on the Street? This didn't feel very good or make a whole lot of sense. I could see the merger killing one of the unique cultures in one of the most unique and important financial institutions in the world - which, in fact, it did. But how? But why?
All that's missing is a picture of Sandy Weill with a blood-soaked knife.
The Wall Street Series Part I: Deutsche vs. Citi - A Study in Wall Street Cultures [Information Arbitrage]