How The New York Stock Exchange Came Closer -- Much, Much Closer -- to Collapse the Second Time
A few weeks after the merger advertisement appeared, Richard McDonald discovered he couldn't sell over-the-counter stocks to other firms. They were reacting to some unfortunate experiences: After they contracted to buy over-the-counter stocks from F. I. duPont, Glore Forgan, the actual securities were not delivered or were delivered inexcusably late.
Richard decided to complain to Peter duPont, Edmond duPont's son -- fair-haired both actually and metaphorically -- who headed up the back office. Sam Gay, the back office head whom Wally had insisted supersede Norm Swanton, had quit as previously agreed upon.
When Richard marched into Peter duPont's office, he looked around and saw pile after pile of computer print-outs stacked on desks, chairs, tables, and window ledges.1
The back office debacle predicted by Norm Swanton had occurred. duPont had used IBM computers; Glore Forgan had used the incompatible RCA Spectra.
EDS was not to blame. EDS only owned some of the computers through Wall Street Leasing; it operated none.
The stock market couldn't be faulted. Low volume, combined with a somewhat improved Central Certificate System, had enabled most other firms to reduce their fails.
Richard talked to Jim Lynch, who decided something had to be done. He couldn't, however, count on Archie Albright, the former Glore Forgan CEO, for any help.
Archie had begun behaving erratically,2 perhaps because of the back office mess, perhaps because he was depressed.