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This chapter assesses Lew Preston’s legacy during his tenure as Morgan’s chairman and CEO. When he stepped down as Morgan’s leader in 1990, Preston was widely regarded as the pre-eminent banker of the era along with Walter Wriston of Citibank. Yet little has been written about him, because he was “almost painfully reticent.” Also, because he was dyslexic, he disliked giving speeches. Preston was widely admired and respected as a decisive leader who oversaw the bank’s expansion globally and who steered it through unprecedented turbulence. Yet, some perceived he never recovered his panache after the Latin American debt crisis. One view is he instinctively knew Morgan’s business model had to change, but he was unsure how to proceed and did not want to make a mistake.
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The name is withheld for purposes of confidentiality.
“Lewis T. Preston, 68, Dies; Led World Bank into 1990s,” May 6, 1995.
At each of these meetings he could count on questions from a trio of gadflies—Evelyn Davis and the Gilbert brothers—to ask pointed questions. Toward the end of the 1980s a favorite hobbyhorse of theirs was Morgan’s persistence in doing business in South Africa against the so-called Sullivan Principles.
Sebastian Mallaby, The World’s Banker, Penguin Books, 2004, p. 56.
Davison’s scholastic career differed from Vagliano’s only in attending Groton instead of St. Paul’s, which was founded by his great grandfather, Endicott Peabody.
They included the Stans—Ross and Yassukovich—Hans Joerg Rudloff, Peter Spira and Rupert Hambro, who were darlings of the financial press.
Name withheld due to confidentiality.
One colleague who rose to a prominent position in the firm declared to me that, “Morgan’s culture was the problem!”
Ibid., p. 56.
Ibid., p. 57.
- Preston’s Legacy
Nicholas P. Sargen
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