Thursday, July 10, 2008

Steel to Wachovia

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Wachovia has hired Bob Steel as its new chief executive officer.

Notes the Journal, “Mr. Steel said he was approached about the job in the past few days. He has a long friendship with Mr. [Lanty] Smith [who chaired the Wachovia search committee] as both share ties to Duke University; Mr. Steel is the current chairman of Duke’s board of trustees, and Mr. Smith is a former trustee.”

Wachovia’s shares and earnings have declined noticeably in the past 12 months, and the bank has been the subject of takeover rumors. Said one financial analyst about Steel, “He is an ideal choice for this time of turmoil.”

Steel might have many qualifications for taking the helm of the nation’s second-largest chain of banks, but surely his track record in leading institutions in a “time of turmoil” is not among them.

Steel’s handling of the lacrosse case suggested a leader who was mostly concerned with upholding the position of the man he selected as president of Duke, Richard Brodhead. The fact that Duke already has paid out three settlements (to the falsely accused lacrosse players, to the Dowds, and to former coach Mike Pressler) and is facing two other massive lawsuits reflects poorly on Steel’s ability to fulfill the chief requirement of his position: looking after the fiduciary interest of his university.

Moreover, Steel’s performance on issues associated with the case raised profound questions about his judgment. This is, after all, a man who:

  • In August 2006 informed the New Yorker that the University had cancelled the lacrosse season because “we had to stop those pictures [of the players practicing]. It doesn’t mean that it’s fair, but we had to stop it. It doesn’t necessarily mean I think it was right—it just had to be done.” The quote hardly inspires confidence of a BOT chairman providing moral leadership for the University.
  • Seemed unconcerned that many Duke faculty members refused to adhere to their contractual guidelines (the Faculty Handbook) or even Duke regulations (departments not paying for political ads, departments actually voting on issues before they claimed to provide an official endorsement).
  • In a fall 2006 private meeting with Friends of Duke head Jason Trumpbour, passed on unsubstantiated personal attacks about the lacrosse players’ character, suggesting that something “terrible, terrible” occurred at the party; and dismissed Trumpbour’s concerns about Mike Nifong’s ethical behavior. In both respects, of course, Trumpbour’s judgment was proved correct, and Steel’s was proved wrong.
  • Promoted the African-American Studies program to full departmental status, despite the abysmal performance in the case of many of the program’s leading faculty members.
  • Behaved, in general, as if he were more afraid of arousing the wrath of the politically correct on campus or “activists” in the Durham community than in upholding the due process rights of his own institution’s students.

  • Justified the dismissal of Coach Mike Pressler to one lacrosse parent by musing, “Life sucks. Bad things happen to good people and you better get used to it.”

This record, it’s worth noting, led to an extraordinary call for Steel’s resignation from Duke alum Jay Bilas, who wrote “Based upon Bob Steel’s letter of April 11, 2007, in which Mr. Steel stated that the board agreed with the principles President Brodhead established and the actions he took, the resignation of Mr. Steel and any board members that acted in lock step with President Brodhead are also appropriate.”

If Steel runs Wachovia like he oversaw the lacrosse case at Duke, I fear the institution’s “time of turmoil” might just be beginning.


Anonymous said...

Great. Now I have to find a new bank and add one more item on my "List of Companies I Will Not Do Business With."

Anonymous said...

Perfect timing for Steel. He can go out to the Bohemia Grove encampment and promote to other CEOs what he will do as the new head of Wachovia. I'm sure his pay package is amazing, golden parachute and all.

Gary Packwood said...

Suppose the New York Times will eventually adjust their 'nut graf' on Steel to give greater emphasis on his role in promoting political correctness in the academy as well as corporate America?

haskell said...

I believe in this era of recession and bank retrenching, Wachovia needs ruthless and heartless leadership. Lotta heads are gonna roll in downsizing and restructuring that company, and I expect that bad things in fact will happen to many of their good people.

Debrah said...

Here's a report on Steele in the N&O.

In this photo, he bears a strong resemblance to the Dutch actor and director Jeroen Krabbé.

Very dapper and an attractive kind of way.

Also, I saw Kristin Butler's name on a report today about the drowning of two men.

Seems her work there is going swimmingly.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget Steel's comment to the effect that it would be acceptable for the 3 accused to undergo a sham of a trial and be convicted and disgraced, because the whole thing could be sorted out on appeal. He saw that as preferable to Duke leadership stepping up and telling the unpalatable truth to the the G88 and other hoax enablers.

Steel no doubt has all sorts of high-powered leadership qualities. But the Duke Lacrosse case has shown that he is bankrupt in some vital areas. Take care Wachovia: those who will not learn from the past may pay a high price in the future.

Anonymous said...

The WJS reported yesterday in the early afternoon that there were two candidates left, Steel and Alvaro de Molina, forer CFO of Bank of America. DeMolina's reputation in the finance world is impeccable, particularly on Wall St. He would have been fully capable of taking over the challeges of Wachovia and would have not brought the cloud of being a named defendant in one of the largest lawsuits in Duke's history.It's apparent that Smith a former Board member at Duke pulled an inside trade - not all for the better of the bank. It will be interesting to see how Steel's depositions will handled once discovery begins and he must answer some tough questions on his role in the Duke frame. Wachovia's personal service has been declining for several years and I have considered moving into another banking institution with the two nickles I have to rub together. I would prefer someone with honesty and integrity to serve over investing my few dollars.

Anonymous said...

What bothers me about this isn't so much that Wachovia hired him (lots of large companies have made hiring mistakes, after all) but that the person that hired him had Duke connections too! Wasn't Mr. Smith paying attention?

Hopefully this boat will sink and take both of them down with it.

Anonymous said...

Now that Crystal Mangum has her degree, perhaps Bob Steel can put his money where his mouth is and give her a job.

Anonymous said...

Some of these banks are not going to make it in the next 18 months without government intervention or assistance. Bear Stearns was just the first, where the Government acted as a generous pawn broker of last resort to give JPMC a pretty good deal. Hence, Steel's best calling card may be his "access" to Government, although as a high ranking executive branch employee he will be restricted from communicating with Treasury or representing Wachovia before Treasury for quite some time. I also am not sure what this "access" brings - Bush's Treasury department has been remarkably inactive in working to address the banking problem - and I think this is a statement of fact not said in any partisan spirit. In any event, Steel and those like him better be pretty decisive in the next 18 months to two years, and when they are, they better be right. The Duke experience doesn't call for optimism.

No justice, no peace said...

"...I look forward to working with a talented team companywide to restore value to Wachovia's shareholders, promote transparency and continue delivering outstanding service to Wachovia's customers."

What has Mr. Steel done to restore value to a Duke degree, promote transparency, or deliver serice to Duke's customers? I suppose the trials will expose those sticky details.

The Goldman connection relative to Wachovia's investment banking relationship is/will raise some eyebrows.

Anonymous said...

Quoting Steel: “Life sucks. Bad things happen to good people and you better get used to it.”

Imagine being a productive employee at Wachovia, and hearing that this is how your leader treats his talented people. I'd resign immediately -- and short the stock.

Duke Prof

Anonymous said...

Does this mean he'll leave his position at Duke?

No justice, no peace said...

One other thought. Besides Mr. Steel's Duke legacy, he also leave a moral hazard issue with his actions while at Treasury.

Opening the discount window to non-financial institutions is a big deal.

Moving away from the capitalist foundations of allowed failure, regeneration, and creative destruction will exacerbate our current financial market meltdown.

I've always respected Lanty Smith's judgement and intellect, but now there will be a footnote.

It seems to me Wachovia, and other financial institutions, need leadership that can bring them out of the wildnerness. Bob Steel has a very recent history of leading institutions into the wilderness.

A very odd and disappointing choice.

Anonymous said...

It should not require law that most cannot access to make someone do what was morally right in the first place . . . this is not the definition of character or law.

Debrah said...

In a fall 2006 private meeting with Friends of Duke head Jason Trumpbour, passed on unsubstantiated personal attacks about the lacrosse players’ character, suggesting that something “terrible, terrible” occurred at the party; and dismissed Trumpbour’s concerns about Mike Nifong’s ethical behavior. In both respects, of course, Trumpbour’s judgment was proved correct, and Steel’s was proved wrong.

I had forgotten about this.

What a scurrilous creep!

I was very disappointed that more action wasn't taken after the Jay Bilas letter. We all recall that his letter was only included in the online publication. Not in the print editions sent to alumni.

BTW, where is Jason lately?

Art Deco said...

One gets the impression of a man whose imperative is to save face, and that such types tend to rise to the top in this age.

No justice, no peace said...

Wachovia Bank (WB) down almost 6% on over 72 million shares (+/- 1:00 EDT). Typical daily volume is around 49 million shares.

Other leading banks such as BofA, Citi, and JPM are all trading higher today.

It looks like the street may not think much of Mr. Steel being named CEO.

Anonymous said...

The Charlotte Observer has a nice puff piece out on Steel today :

"Steel an 'extraordinary' leader"

"The chairman of Duke University's trustees gets praise for being steady, civic minded."

"Even in a coterie of strong leaders, Robert Steel stands out."

With comments from Duke Trustees Frank Emory and Kimberly Jenkins (and Dan Blue).

(And if their comments are representative of the entire BOT,
then it's no wonder why the BOT
retained an Olympian silence about the lax case.)

No justice, no peace said...

Inre: 10:01 Anon "...Bush's Treasury department has been remarkably inactive in working to address the banking problem - and I think this is a statement of fact not said in any partisan spirit..."

I beg to differ and would submit that the Treasury Dept., the Fed, and the White House were radically active. The vote by the Fed to open the discount windows to non-bank institutions like Bear Stearns occured on a Sunday.

Only four Fed Governors voted as two seats were vacant and another was in Europe and unavailable. It takes five to have a majority.

It is my understanding that a depression era loophole was utilized to justify this emergency vote.

This was a radical and active decision. Some believe that Capitalism has been redefined.

When one considers the incestuous nature of those involved in the decision becomes more disconcerting. Bob Steel, Alan Paulson, and others all have deep investment banking backgrounds.

To paraphrase Ving Rhames character Marsellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction, the Bush administration is a "long-!*$(!$@% way" from inactive.

Debrah said...

I love you, Barack!

The Diva knew that you would be the most rational choice.

Months ago, the Diva opined that in order to be elected, and then subsequently govern, Obama would move right--to the center.

I think the Diva has missed her calling. Political operative is definitely in the cards!

And in light of the embarrassing Jesse jackson illumination, Obama is on his way. One couldn't have a better enemy on the way to the White House.

No justice, no peace said...

The advice I gave my daughter when I dropped her off at college was to watch what young men do - measure there actions - and ignore what they say.

I gave her the same advice as she contemplates her first vote in a Presidential election.

Wachovia's board would have been wise to take the same approach with Bob Steel.

By the way WB stock traded 92 million shares (3:21 EDT) and is down 7% breaking below their 52 week low.

It is clear the large institutional investors don't think much of Mr. Bob Steel.

Debrah said...

Wachovia is/was a worthless bank.....even before the appointment of Steel.

Who uses Wachovia?

Anonymous said...

This is all part of cultural Marxism right?

amberG said...

KC - How unkind of you to doubt Mr. Steel, after all, if he needs help, he can always get President Broadhead too.

amberG said...

Also, from Liestoppers' blog:
>>> They deserve each other. However it is a bit ironic that it was a Wachovia ATM that provided an alibi for Reade and that revelation with Elmo turned the public tide against the guys.

>>>Hey you are right Baldo. I had forgotten. It is ironic isn't it. That tape made all the difference and there was On Time Taxi in the background. I don't think they would have believed Elmo without that tape. Come to think of it, the cops didn't believe Elmo.

>>>Maybe Steel will fire the automatic teller for revenge.

Jim in San Diego said...

It would seem an important question now is whether Mr. Steel will remain Chairman of the BOT.

If he stays, nothing here will affect the Hoax proceedings.

If he leaves, a new personality, perhaps one not so integrity challenged, might redirect the University's response to its many student victims.

Jim Peterson

Anonymous said...

You watch. Steel will get his $38 million, clean up the bad debts at Wachovia enough to make sure he gets the big payout, find a buyer for it, and go to a secretary position in the Obama administration. Meanwhile, he must keep discovery from happening. He can't aford to be deposed.

No justice, no peace said...

Wachovia Bank (WB) stock closed down 8% today at $13.13, a new 52 week low and a price that was last seen in November of 1991.

111,964,369 shares were traded which is well over 2X of the 3 month daily average.

The point is not that all banking stocks are under duress or that Wachovia may have be poorly run. Both Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase closed higher today.

The very clear message is that the institutional investors (pension funds, insurance companies, etc.) don't think much of Bob Steel. They must be run by former Lacrosse players.

The selling at this volume on the day of the annoucement is an unambiguous vote of no-confidence.

Maybe Wachovia can recover by instituting a CCI initiative.

Anonymous said...

I think that what we have to remember is that most people connected to Duke University did not care about the guilt or innocence of Reade, David, and Collin. And I suspect that more than a few of them were disappointed that they could not have their PC conviction.

Steel always has been a disgrace, and always will.

Michael said...

The one-year chart for anyone interested. I have a friend that posts a bank deathwatch almost daily. Perhaps I should ask him to include wb. On the other hand there may be too many candidates for that list these days.

Anonymous said...


Yes, they'll have to do something to stop those photos!

Anonymous said...

Me and my money are leaving Wachovia. It's the proverbial fox watching the hen house.


Anonymous said...

I had student loans with this institution...that was when I branded them as "Whack-off-ia"...they didn't care then, they don't care now. That much is obvious.

Anonymous said...

Pictures in the Charlotte Disturber this morning tell the story of Bob Steel. He is waving his hand to the minions as though the messiah has finally come. I would suggest they watch their back as Steel would not hesitate to stab any one of them in the back if it made him or Wachovia look better. The guy is a white collar thug.

Anonymous said...

The institution is mostly nice.

But sometimes they "Walk-ovah-ya"

Anonymous said...

Until Proven Innocent should be required reading at Wachovia. It's clear that none on the board of directors were interested in reading it.

Debrah said...

This on Steel from The Business Journal.

No justice, no peace said...

Wachovia is trading at $11.71 right now (3:37 EDT) on heavy volume. Since Mr. Steel was named CEO the company has lost +/- $ 2.70 per share.

There are 1.99 billion share outstanding. That's over $5 billion of equity that has disappeared. Nice work Bob.

As much as I would like to think the lacrosse hoax is widely understood nationally, it is not. My experience after visiting with many really tuned-in people is that much is not understood about the depth Steel, Brodhead, and others sunk during this travesty.

My point is that this enormous selling of Wachovia stock after Steel was named probably has nothing to do with their knowledge of his involvement during the Duke lacrosse hoax.

More likely is that the sell off more immediately reflects what Wall Street investors and Washington insiders think of Mr. Steel.

Imagine what the sell-off would be if the institutional investors better understood Mr. Steel's involvement in the hoax.

Anonymous said...

Justified the dismissal of Coach Mike Pressler to one lacrosse parent by musing, “Life sucks. Bad things happen to good people and you better get used to it.”

Is this a way of saying that nothing bad has happened to him?


Anonymous said...

Wachovia stock closed at $13.13 last night (7/10) and opened at $11.50 this morning... currently (4pm) at $11.64

Steel has his work cut out for him. I do apologize to Wachovia stockholders and employees but I can't say that I wish him much success -- I hope his life sucks and he has to get used to it.

No justice, no peace said...

Mr. Steel is in the unique position to leverage his position into a moral hazard trifecta.

The fed agreed to open the discount window for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac today. Mr. Steel has some authorship in that slippery slope.

Of course he may be the root of all moral hazard decisions at Duke.

And of course he is now is a position to demonstrate his true calling at Wachovia.

"Moral hazard is the prospect that a party insulated from risk may behave differently from the way it would behave if it were fully exposed to the risk. Moral hazard arises because an individual or institution does not bear the full consequences of its actions, and therefore has a tendency to act less carefully than it otherwise would, leaving another party to bear some responsibility for the consequences of those actions. For example, an individual with insurance against automobile theft may be less vigilant about locking his car, because the negative consequences of automobile theft are (partially) borne by the insurance company.

Moral hazard is related to asymmetric information, a situation in which one party in a transaction has more information than another. The party that is insulated from risk generally has more information about its actions and intentions than the party paying for the negative consequences of the risk. More broadly, moral hazard occurs when the party with more information about its actions or intentions has a tendency or incentive to behave inappropriately from the perspective of the party with less information."

Locomotive Breath said...


Bob Steel is...


Woke up this morning, started to sneeze
I had a cigarette and a cup of tea
I looked in the mirror what did I see
A nine stone weakling with knobbly knees
I did my knees bend press ups touch my toes
I had another sneeze and I blew my nose
I looked in the mirror at my pigeon chest
I had to put on my clothes because it made me depressed
Surely there must be a way
For me to change the shape I’m in
Dissatisfied is what I am
I want to be a better man

Superman superman wish I could fly like superman
Superman superman I want to be like superman
I want to be like superman
Superman superman wish I could fly like superman

Woke up this morning, what did I see
A big black cloud hanging over me
I switched on the radio and nearly dropped dead
The news was so bad that I fell out of bed
There was a gas strike, oil strike, lorry strike, bread strike
Got to be a superman to survive
Gas bills, rent bills, tax bills, phone bills
I’m such a wreck but I’m staying alive

[look in the paper, what do I see,
Robbery, violence, insanity.]

Hey girl we’ve got to get out of this place
There’s got to be something better than this
I need you, but I hate to see you this way
If I were superman then we’d fly away
I’d really like to change the world
And save it from the mess it’s in
I’m too weak, I’m so thin
I’d like to fly but I can’t even swim

Superman superman I want to fly like superman
Superman superman wish I could fly like superman
Superman superman wish I could fly like superman
Superman superman I want to be like superman
Superman superman I want to fly like superman

Debrah said...

TO 11:30 AM--

That's funny.

In the Triangle, First Citizens and Harrington Bank are the best, IMO.

About Wachovia, it seems Steel's appointment was more of another Duke insider game.

The interim president Lanty Smith--another Duke alumnus--said that Steel was their one and only choice from the beginning and that they "pursued him".

Wachovia is set to be a much smaller bank. The plans to pare down remind me of the recent N&O cuts.

Debrah said...

This Steel business made me think back to some of the profiles KC did of the Gang of 88.

I especially recall with amusement the e.e.cummings fan miriam cooke.

This is her website. I was really looking for those funny home videos that used to be featured on her husband's website. They no longer seem to be around.

Perhaps she and her husband read the reviews they got inside Wonderland. LOL!!!

So I checked out the site above and as you can see, we have a photo of dear miriam petting what appears to be a cheetah.

When you click on the link, next click on "writers"....then click on "menu" to get the two-part interview with Egyptian Nawal el Saadawi who was visiting Duke in 1993.

You get a full dose of cooke's insipid and grossly affected dialogue.

What struck me most was some of the things discussed by Saadawi.

The irony that would come to be lost on cooke in the years that proceeded this interview.

Saadawi talks about freedom on campus.

Expressing herself freely without the element of politics.

"Politics deal with freedom."

Perhaps Saadawi should return to Duke to interview miriam cooke, Steel, and the other 88 on this subject that was so important to the insipid cooke way back then.

inman said...

Regarding Steel's appointment:

Wachovia sucks. Worse things happen to bad companies and you better get used to it.

Anonymous said...

To the
7/10/08 2:58 PM

Months ago, the Diva opined that in order to be elected, and then subsequently govern, Obama would move right--to the center.

Iowahawk agrees with you!!

Anonymous said...

Anyone with Duke ties and/or interested in dealing with honorable people, now have something concrete they can do (besides sending 88 cent fundraiser checks to Duke)
They can remove their money from Wachovia, and take it elsewhere.
It is often hard for one person to have an impact, often difficult to know what you can do, but this is pretty clear. Remove money from Wachovia and keep Steel from being successful there.
His speech (I caught just a bit of it) was to stay in touch with the everyday people, the people in the trenches, they know what the needs of the bank are. If only he had taken the time to take care of the people at Duke, LIKE the STUDENTS.
The reason that Duke exists! (students = university) Maybe if he had tuned into his true responsibility, he would be looking like a hero, rather than a _________! (feel free to fill in the blank how you see fit.)
Too bad, he is now moving back to NC, but at least he will be close to make discovery convenient.

Anonymous said...

As a Duke alum and CEO, I'm discontinuing my business with Wachovia and continuing my $.88 contribution to unrestricted annual giving for Trinity.

Anonymous said...

Didn'y anyone at Watchoverya at least GOOGLE the tool before they hired him?!

The depressing part of this is, barring felonious behavior (and I mean a real felony that could be taken to court), this moral coward will walk away with millions of dollars no matter if he craters the institution.


Hard to believe that Steel was the best they could do. I would follow many people I respect, but never anyone without the courage to do the right thing in a pinch.

ES Duke 1990

Anonymous said...

“The first myth of management is that it exists.”
-Robert Heller

Mr. Heller is indicating that there is no abstract set of management skills applicable to all industries and endeavors.

Example: The New York Yankees Manager wouldn't necessarily have the management skills to run NASA.

Mr. Steel's background is finance and that may be where he belongs.

“The second myth of management is that success equals skill.”
-Robert Heller

Sorry, this article makes you and your groupies sound angry, bitter and catty.

Anonymous said...

Read the N&O article today (sunday) about Steel, Wachovia and the lacrosse case, his comment about the case was a MAJOR understatement. I would not share it with any of the lacrosse team!

Debrah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

In comments about the Rabinowitz column, 7/7/08 12:31 PM said, "(((((((() No parsimonious scholar, he. An infinite book of excitement, our seductively fabulous KC! ())))))))"

Because of my ancient technical background I thought,. "What an insult."
A parsimonious argument is a thing of beauty. Less is more!

I remember when computer memory was hand wired on toroid cores.
A program which used a parsimonious amount of steps was considered elegant.
Isn't that true of all proofs & arguments?

I decided to watch for what 7/7/08 12:31 PM was implying.
Unfortunately, in "Steel to Wachovia" there is the following, "Steel’s handling of the lacrosse case suggested a leader who was mostly concerned with upholding the position of the man he selected as president of Duke, Richard Brodhead."

"Suggested"? How passive can you get? Much implied, nothing stated.

"Defending the position or the man?"

In the military, we dog faces were taught, "If you disagree with the ranking commander, you must still honor the rank."

So was Steel wrong in trying to to support the position?

When I look at the modern world which refers to Presidents Clinton and Bush as Willy and Shrub, I don't think so.

So 7/7/08 12:31 PM, you are right, the "no parsimonious scholar" states nothing in the above and what he does state is ambiguously phrased.

KC Johnson said...

To the 10.32:

I fear that your derogatory reference to readers of the blog makes you appear angry, bitter and catty.

I urge you to re-read the post: it makes no comment about Steel's financial skills, which are obviously considerable. It only points out that, based on his response to the lacrosse case, it's folly to describe Steel as an ideal choice to lead an institution in a time of turmoil.

Anonymous said...

To the 7/13/08 5:15 PM from the 7/13/08 10:32 AM

Thank you for allowing my comment.

I not only read your current blog about Mr. Steel, I searched DiW for other references to him.

Mr. Steel did not invent the PC world. He only tries to survive in it like the rest of us who live in the real world.

So, you agree he has financial skills to be a good choice in his new position. So what was your meandering blog all about? Beats me.

You fear? How weak.

However, I take you to task about your stating that I make derogatory references to your readers when I only refer you and your "groupie" commenters.

I read you. Are you telling me that I attack myself? Or is it only those who agree with you that are welcome?

How would I or you possibly know what you readers think? I have no opinion on the motivations of any of your readers.

Sorry that I'm not more like "The Diva"

To put it more bluntly, I consider your commenters to be bunch of brown noses as of late.

In you classes how do you deal with dissension? Like the Group of 88-1=87?

Preemptive Statement: Angry, bitter and catty yours,
The 7/13/08 10:32 AM

Anonymous said...

You wrote
Steel's financial skills, which are obviously considerable.
So Wachovia may have made a wise choice?

KC Johnson said...

To the 6.55:

You ask, "So what was your meandering blog all about? Beats me." You might want to consider extension school courses, or offerings at a nearby community college, to help you with your reading comprehension skills.

You ask, "In you classes how do you deal with dissension? Like the Group of 88-1=87?" Given that I have received teaching awards at each institution at which I have taught (Harvard, Williams, and Brooklyn), it seems that my students think I'm doing something right.

haskell said...

To Anonymous 7/13 10:30

It would appear that there will be serious cutbacks and downsizing at Wachovia. Steel might well shine at these activities, and may well have been hired to lead these efforts. I wonder if he was one of those, in Chuck Schumer's words, "asleep at the switch" in the current Indy-Mac etc. crisis, as he was a domestic policy adviser at Treasury.

Debrah said...

TO 10:32 AM......3:29 PM.......6:55 PM.......10:30 PM :

It is obvious that all of these are from the same disgruntled anonymous commenter.

None of your comments contain anything but silly ad hominems and straw arguments put together in superfluous fashion as a way to vent some very personal issues.

When such a show is put on for the purpose of trying to close down other comments, the dialogue can be given more respect when the flame thrower isn't hiding behind "anonymous".

Lucky for you that KC doesn't follow the rules of many of the other blogs where authors require commenters to sign in, give an email address, and are only then allowed a level of free expression acceptable to the agenda-driven hosts.

As you can see, you are a beneficiary---in bold relief---of free expression allowed here.

You will no doubt relish the fact that my previous responses to your comments were not allowed.

So is the Diva or anyone else getting special treatment?


You have not a clue about what actually takes place; however, there seems to be great need on your part to attack this blog.

For what reason?

In the past there have been "anonymous" commenters show up to advise KC. A few have been so presumptuous as to tell him it was time to end the blog.

Following this blog takes time. I am curious as to what possible motivation one would have to decide to invest sizable life currency in such an endeavor......just to attack other commenters for showing up.

Why would you or anyone care what "The Diva" posts or does not post? Why would this be something about which to obsess?

Lately, such splenetic self-serving kibitzers seem to have altered KC's moderating. To that end, anonymous people like yourself whose personal issues have metasticized must feel you've accomplished something.

Perhaps it is time to close the blog when morose arguments designed to settle personal scores, "anonymously", are given such a platform.

No justice, no peace said...

In February of 2001 Goldman Sachs stock was trading around $110 per share. In February of 2004 the stock was trading around $100 per share.

Bob Steel was Chairman during this timeframe. What exactly did his leadership provide that was so impactful?

Were it short term impact he failed. The stock was essentially flat during his term. After he left the stock rose to $240.

Were it a long term impact, one might point out that GS, like most all investment banks, has significant institutional problems.

That question regarding GS is somewhat minor relative to questions regarding the moral hazard of the decisions related to opening the discount window to non-bank institutions. He had some authorship in that decision.

Of course his action/inaction in the Duke hoax demonstrate a moral hazard of another kind.

One may guess that Mr. Steel will write down Wachovia assets so low to ensure short term success. We'll see.

Clearly Mr. Steel is a smart guy with a strong resume and some charm. But what success has he really enjoyed as a leader of anything? How he managed Richard Brodhead? His employees, the Klan of 88?

If one considers where Goldman Sachs, our economy, and Duke University are today, it is so stretch to see a common thread - Mr. Bob Steel.

No justice, no peace said...

Wachovia has lost $7.3 billion in market cap (Monday 11:10 a.m. EDT) since Robert Steel was announced as the new CEO.

It appears the smartest guys in the room don't think much of Mr. Steel. Maybe it's time for him to bring in the big guns, you know, those with the AA and Woman's Studies degrees.

Anonymous said...


The diva is the "heart" of D-i-W. You won't change that.

It's an idea worth considering for visitors to be required to sign in with a valid email address and ID.

Maybe it would cut down on the noise.


Anonymous said...

"Bob Steel was Chairman during this timeframe."

He was never chair of GS. He was a vice-chair

No justice, no peace said...

Inre: 2:24 Robert Steel mentioned as Chairman vs. Vice-Chairman of GS. I stand corrected, please excuse my error.

Regardless, the Mr. Steel was an Executive Officer during a time when the stock was flat.

No justice, no peace said...

Inre. RRH

“Life sucks. Bad things happen to good people and you better get used to it.”-Bob Steel

Is this a way of saying that nothing bad has happened to him (Steel)? - RRH

I missed this over the weekend. You must be related to Will Rogers.

Anonymous said...

All I'm wondering is if Steel will move into Bilas' neighborhood in Charlotte. Wouldn't that be a great conversation at the country club bar?

haskell said...

Rough times ahead for Wachovia.

Here's a try at a link:

Wachovia Link

No justice, no peace said...

One wonders how much the Duke endowment has invested in Wachovia Bank stock.

WB is down over 15% as of 10:05 this a.m. trading at around $8.35 per share. This isn't just a financial sector issue. The other major banks are only lower by 5%.

Since Mr. Steel was named CEO WB has lost $12.2 billion in market capitalization.

Maybe character does count after all.

Anonymous said...

"Mr. Steel did not invent the PC world. He only tries to survive in it like the rest of us who live in the real world."

Sounds like the excuse a Frenchman would offer for working for Vichy.

Darvin said...

Hello. I find your blog is very interesting. So much has already been said about banks – good and bad. Wachovia Bank is one of the most popular among the dissatisfied customers, the majority of reports have been posted about it. You can find lots of claims on Everyone can file his/her feedback on the site to share experience with others.

haskell said...

Wachovia is cutting almost 11,000 jobs and positions. And just how much is Steel getting paid?

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