Distinguished Young Alumni Award
Sallie Lee Krawcheck ’87
It’s been a few years since Sallie Krawcheck’s son, Johnathan, took the helm of his own stroller on Madison Avenue—and ran it into one Sanford Weill, then the chair and CEO of Citigroup. A lot has happened to Citigroup, and Johnathan’s mom has made a lot of things happen for herself.
One year ago Sallie was tapped by Citigroup to run Smith Barney, its new brokerage and equity-research spin-off. It was low ebb for investor confidence in the big firms, and Citigroup was one of those in the center of the storm. Weill called Sallie’s appointment “a giant leap forward” in restoring the confidence of skeptical investors. At 38, she runs a global business of 13,000 brokers and analysts, making her one of the most powerful and youngest female executives on Wall Street.
By all accounts, Sallie’s appointment was brilliant largely because of her devotion to independent research and hard-hitting, critical analysis. Fortune magazine acknowledged her high profile and upped the ante by featuring her on its May cover with the headline “In Search of the Last Honest Analyst.” Money called Sallie “The Straight Shooter”; Time named her one of its 2002 Global Influentials; and Institutional Investor named her an all-star analyst three years in a row in the late 1990s.
“She’s a research goddess,” a former colleague gushed in a recent news story.
A Morehead Scholar and Phi Beta Kappa graduate, Sallie earned journalism and political science degrees from Carolina and an MBA from Columbia University. She began her Wall Street career as an analyst at Salomon Brothers, then moved on to Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. While she was home with her infant son, she decided to become an equity analyst on the advice of a former boss. She interviewed and was rejected by all the big names. It was their loss.
In 1994, Sallie joined Sanford C. Bernstein Co., a small investment-research firm where analysts earned a reputation for being fiercely independent. She began as an analyst covering securities and life insurance, then served as director of research and executive vice president of Bernstein’s parent company, Alliance Capital Management, before being named chairman and CEO in 2001.
The seeds for Sallie’s success were planted early. Born in New Orleans, her family moved shortly after she was born to her father Lenny’s childhood home near Charleston’s Battery. Lenny, along with Sallie’s two brothers and sister, are all attorneys. Sallie quickly learned to back up her arguments—or keep quiet.
“None of us could get a friend to come over for dinner,” Sallie joked recently.
A high school track star who ranked among her state’s best in the high jump, Sallie also was an outstanding student. She says the Morehead didn’t just make a difference in her life; it made the difference. For a southern female coming of age in the seventies and eighties, leadership didn’t come naturally. It began with the nomination and a selection committee that recognized an untapped potential for leadership.
“They believed in me, gave me the award and added to my confidence,” Sallie says. She did summer internships with Outward Bound, the Seattle Police Department, Fortune and Baring Brothers, an investment bank. “Every step of the way, the Morehead built my confidence. And with the confidence came leadership—more and more of it until it was part of my comfort zone,” Sallie says.
Today, Sallie’s a member of the UNC Board of Visitors and the Morehead Alumni Campaign Leadership Committee, part of the Carolina First Campaign. She met her husband, Gary Appel, at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.
In a speech at Kenan-Flagler Business School earlier this year, Sallie said Citigroup analysts are “embracing the move back to basics” and that the conflict between research and investment banking at Citigroup “has been recognized and fixed.”
She’s now devoted to continuing to use her talent, drive and unwavering focus as one of the most influential voices for research quality and integrity.
Today, she is comfortable that she’s in the right place at the right time, and she refers to her participation in this amazing chapter in Wall Street history a gift.
We at Carolina are fortunate to have one so talented, so young, and so vitally involved in authoring the next several chapters.