We can't get enough of the downfall of Ken Thompson, the as-of-this-morning former chief executive of Wachovia. Thompson hoped to preside over the growth of the bank into a universal banking powerhouse. Instead, he nearly ran it into the ground.
This morning Lanty Smith, the chairman of the company, also took over as interim CEO. One of his first duties was to send an email to Wachovia's employees. Read the email after the jump.
Action by the Board of Directors
TO: All Employees
FROM: Lanty Smith, Chairman and interim CEO
RE: Action by the Board of Directors
Just a few moments ago, we announced that Ken Thompson is retiring as
chief executive officer at the request of the board of directors and
that I will be assuming his duties on an interim basis. I will be
working closely with Ben Jenkins, vice chairman and president of the
General Bank/Wealth Management, who will serve as interim chief
All of the company's staff functions - Finance, Marketing, Human
Resources and Corporate Relations, Operations and Technology, Risk
Management, Legal and Audit - will report to me. The General Bank,
Wealth Management, the Corporate and Investment Bank and Capital
Management will report to Ben.
The board took this action only after careful and thorough deliberation
and in accordance with our responsibility for the strategic direction of
the company. Over the past few weeks, as we continued to look at all
the facts, cumulatively, we determined that in order to move forward
Wachovia required new leadership at the top. A change in chairman was
I'm sure this news is very difficult for many of you who have worked
closely with Ken over the years. He has earned the respect of his
colleagues and peers, and he will be greatly missed. I hope you will
join me in thanking him for his 32 years of service and in wishing him
Equally, I hope you will join me in the hard work that will be required
of each of us as we guide our company through an especially challenging
economic and operational period. The best news that I have to share
today is no news at all to most of you: We have assembled one of the
finest operating teams in the business. I have complete confidence that
we are equipped to meet the full range of challenges that face us during
this transitional period and beyond.
I encourage you to read the news release from this morning's
announcement (below), to watch today's Take 5 show - which is airing on
the satellite network and will be delivered to desktop users during the
afternoon - and to tune in to a special message from me airing on V-Net
beginning at 3 p.m. today Eastern time (it will be delivered via desktop
video on Tuesday).
I would like to emphasize that our mission today is no different than it
was last week or will be going forward: to deliver value for our
shareholders and to provide exceptional service to our customers. Each
day, the contributions of a 120,000-member Wachovia family are what make
that mission possible.
Both hard work and great opportunities stand before us, and I know that
in this company we have the determination to succeed in achieving both.