There’s no playing field as vast, fast-paced, or challenging as Wall Street. To be a major-league player in this game requires a constant demonstration of acumen, agility, acuity — and the ability to play hardball.
Extreme market volatility, a tepid economy here and abroad, and waning investor confidence have made it much more heady these days. This is why we considered it the perfect time to unveil our Top 50 African Americans on Wall Street — “The BLACK ENTERPRISE Wall Street All-Stars.” The professionals and entrepreneurs we’ve identified are proven power-hitters who consistently smack grand-slams out of the park regardless of market conditions.
Our editors spent months engaging in extensive research to produce this all-star lineup. It has changed quite a bit from our past lists of “The Top 25 Blacks on Wall Street” that appeared in our October 1992 and October 1996 issues. Instead of focusing solely on the best African American analysts, traders, and investment bankers as we did in the past, we broadened our search to include the leading black asset managers and top executives such as American Express CEO Kenneth I. Chenault and Fannie Mae CEO Franklin D. Raines. These two corporate leaders oversee mammoth financial services companies in which asset management and trading represent core businesses. (See sidebar for our selection criteria.)
Seven professionals who appeared on the previous list didn’t make the cut this time around. For instance, Michelle L. Collins, who at the time was head of William Blair’s Specialty Retail Group, and Stuart A. Taylor II, a former managing director for Bankers Trust and head of its Global Automotive Coverage Group, launched their own firms, both of which were not large enough to qualify for our list. Calvin B. Grigsby, who was indicted on federal bribery charges, then cleared, was forced to shut down his investment bank, Grigsby Brandford & Co. (His former partner, Napoleon Brandford III, made this year’s list.) And one superstar’s bright career was snuffed out due to alleged illegal activities: Kevin Ingram, former head of Deutsche Bank Morgan Grenfell’s mortgage-backed securities department, was arrested last year on money laundering charges.
But this year’s group is much more powerful, entrepreneurial, and diverse. Four of the all-stars — Raines, Chenault, Merrill Lynch’s E. Stanley O’Neal and Citigroup’s Thomas Jones — are either chief executives or on the short list for CEO consideration, while one — Vernon E. Jordan Jr., senior managing partner of investment banking powerhouse Lazard Frères — dominated Washington power circles and served as a confidant to former President Bill Clinton. Another 25 hold partner or managing director-level positions at some of the world’s largest financial institutions. And 17 are entrepreneurs who run the largest black-owned investment banks or asset management firms. Their ages range from 36 to 67.
Nine of our all-stars — E. Stanley O’Neal, Salomon Smith Barney’s James F. Haddon, JPMorgan’s Ronald T. Gault, Bear Stearn’s William H. Hayden, Credit Suisse First Boston’s Adebayo O. Ogunlesi, entrepreneur John O. Utendahl, and Morgan Stanley’s Raymond J. McGuire, William M. Lewis, and George L. Van Amson — have been