Did Krawcheck Ever Have a Chance at Bank of America?

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Sometimes you have to wonder: Do banks hire Sallie Krawcheck just so they can fire her when times get tough?

It almost seems to be her role to repeatedly rise to become "the most powerful woman on Wall Street" only to be cut loose by a more powerful man.

The most intelligent take on Krawcheck's fall I've come across today is Josh Brown's at Reformed Broker:

I'm going to go on the record here and say publicly that despite anything you may read about Sallie Krawcheck this week, the truth is that she did her best, but never really had a shot. Krawcheck was lured away from Citi a few years ago to do the impossible—take the melting iceberg that is Merrill Lynch and somehow turn it into the statue of David. Yes, she went after the job, one of the biggest positions in finance to be sure. But there was never any chance that she could make it work—because no one could have.

Sallie couldn't change the fact that the brokers at Merrill want to be thought of as wealth managers, not salesmen, not anymore.

Sallie couldn't change the fact that these "wealth managers" had zero interest in being affiliated with the banking giant from Charlotte in any way once the rescue was accomplished in the wake of Lehman's failure.

Sallie couldn't change the fact that the brokers have no interest in peddling bank products or making referrals to other divisions within the slimeball supermarket. She also couldn't change the fact that the clients are wise to game as well, and that they are not very excited about having their retirement accounts be "synergized" either.

Sallie couldn't change the fact that the jig is up, and everyone knows that Merrill Lynch's fiduciary responsibility is to the shareholders of Bank of America first and the clients second.

Sallie couldn't change the fact that once the brand name is tarnished, there is little reason for the salesforce to stay.

Go read the whole thing.

(Note: Krawcheck did not leave Citi for Bank of America, she had been gone from Citi for quite some time.)

The really amazing thing is that Krawcheck did seem to be making it work, somehow. She was doing the impossible. But "the impossible" was made even tougher because of institutional obstacles at Bank of America.

The job was too big not to fail.


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