'We're Looking For The Next Jimmy Cayne' Rarely Heard From Bank CEO Search Committees These Days

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Is your bank looking for a new CEO? Are you considering throwing your name in the ring? Do you feel confident you've got a pretty good shot? Before you start printing up new business cards, take a moment to make sure you're not basing your qualifications on outdated ideas re: what search committees value in a Chief Executive Officer.

According to the Wall Street Journal, in a departure from past, banks are now looking for people who won't embarrass them in public and would have the sense to say, "No, it would not be a good idea for me to send a picture of my bare ass to the chairman of the Federal Reserve with the caption 'Regulate this'" in response to an announcement about new capital requirements.

Out of the ashes of the financial crisis, a new breed of banking leader is rising: the dull chief executive. Large banks, burned by years of scandal, often with swashbuckling CEOs at the helm, are turning to new bosses who sport well-polished veneers of boringness. The goal is to avoid further controversy. "Humility and high levels of self-awareness are now desirable," says Jamie Maxwell-Grant, a consultant at recruiter Korn/Ferry International who oversees a battery of psychometric tests that the headhunter administers to would-be chiefs of top banks. "Five years ago they were not necessarily sought-after attributes."

Nor were they 20 years ago, when guys like Jimmy Cayne were hired. Back then companies actively sought out Chief Execs who would see no problem kicking people out of their offices so he could convert them into grow-houses, and taking weeks off at a time to attend bridge camp. It wasn't until years later that Cayne felt the need to shout "Just a minute!" when people would knock at the door, as scrambled to find his roach clip, sweep the Bugles crumbs off his desk, and spritz some Febreeze into the air. And even then he ran into trouble knowing when and where it was appropriate to brag about his ability to make a bong out of old accounting statements and Silly String.

New Breed of Bank Chief Can Spin a Yawn [WSJ]

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