Commonwealth Club: Billionaire Sanford Weill

VIDEO: Watch this Commonwealth Club event in its entirety in the media player above.

One of the business world's consummate dealmakers, billionaire Sanford Weill, looks back on corporate coups, dizzying crashes and stunning comebacks. The self-proclaimed "kid from Brooklyn" built two leading financial services companies and pursued a string of daring acquisitions that led to the creation of securities giant Shearson Loeb Rhoads. He is also responsible for resuscitating the Commercial Credit Company which he molded into Citigroup, the world's largest financial institution.

In addition to his business activities, Weill is active in philanthropic activities in New York City, Baltimore and at his alma mater, Cornell University. As chairman of Carnegie Hall, he raised $60 million for renovation of its facilities; one of the concert halls is named for him.

It was largely because of Weill that the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, which erected an impenetrable wall between commercial banking and investment banking, was repealed in 1999. The change allowed commercial and investment banks to merge and sanctioned the creation of one-stop financial institutions such as Weill's Citigroup.

Weill joined Air Force ROTC while in college and planned to be a pilot, but cutbacks in defense spending canceled his military career. He then got a job as a $35 a week runner for the New York stockbrokers Bear Stearns and shortly thereafter became a broker himself.

This program was recorded live on November 6, 2006.

Copyright © 2024 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.