‘Times’ Editorial Chief Andy Rosenthal, UnpluggedMEDIA
• Incoming Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes may well spin off the company’s huge cable unit, but a sale of Time Inc. looks unlikely since the small potential proceeds (and big tax penalty) would little benefit a company of Time Warner’s size. [NYT]
• Times editorial-page editor Andy Rosenthal calls all executive editors, including Bill Keller and his own father, crazy. Sweet. [Radar]
• Rupert Murdoch is confirming to all his friends he plans to bring in Times of London editor Robert Thomson to become the Journal’s publisher as part of an “Aussie invasion” in the first few months of next year. [Guardian via Media Mob/NYO]
Wall Street’s Golden Idols All Have Feet of ClayFINANCE
• The struggle to find a successor at Merrill and Citi demonstrates another big flaw in the current culture of Wall Street: Do-or-die standards, and growing demands on public executives, have left firms with no succession plan and few capable of stepping in to take over. Both firms have been forced to turn outside for help: Laurence Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, has been approached about O’Neal’s old job, while Robert Willumstad and John Thain are in the lead to take Prince’s place. [WSJ]
• Why did Chuck Prince and Stan O’Neal fail? They took Gordon Gecko’s favorite maxim—”I create nothing, I own”—a little too seriously, and forgot the other part of banking is to sell, sell, sell. [NYT]
• Andrew Ross Sorkin dons his Miss Manners cap to explain the rules of corporate courting—and why Stan O’Neal’s worrywart parents, the Merrill Lynch board, were only looking for an excuse when they grounded him for asking Wachovia to “merge.” [NYT]
white men with money
Citibank Shake-up Shakes Out for Vikram PanditGuess we know why Citigroup’s Vikram Pandit felt okay about buying that fancy $17.6 million apartment in the Beresford! Dude just got a promotion. Last night, embattled CEO Chuck Prince announced he was consolidating its investment-banking and alternative-investment groups and appointing Pandit as the king of both of them. Though Pandit has a reputation for being “calm,” “selfless,” and “not prone to ruthless acts,” as the Times puts it, the guys who were slated to be underneath him are none too pleased. Already two executives, Thomas Maheras and Randy Barker, have decided to leave the bank. Meanwhile, some people are wondering if Prince’s appointment of Pandit means that he’s going to resign? Deutsche Bank’s Mike Mayo thinks he should. But former Secretary of the Treasury Robert E. Rubin bet the Times $100 that Prince will have his job next year. And you know how much $100 is worth on Wall Street these days.
Big Shake-Up As CitiGroup Combines Two Units [NYT]
Citibank Cut to Sell By Deutsche Bank on Governance [Bloomberg]
in other news
Spitzer Gets New Advice; Bob Rubin Gets New GlassesSo what has Bruno-trooper aircraft-abuse-of power-gate taught Eliot Spitzer? That it might be worth it to, uh, get some advice. (Breakthrough!) According to today’s Times, the Steamroller, in an atypical move, has started taking counsel from people other than his usual yesmen. Who are the éminences grises to whom he’s speaking? Real-estate heavyweight Jerry Speyer, Republican and former Bruno aide Abraham M. Lackman, and beloved former Clinton Treasury secretary Bob Rubin — who, judging from the accompanying picture on the Times site has recently picked up a très hip pair of heavy-rimmed, almost Mike Nichols–ish spectacles. Rich, Jewish, and now a foxy silver fox? Grr, Mr. Rubin. Grr.
Rethinking Bold Style, Spitzer Gets New Advice [NYT]