The Unseen Wall Street of 1969-1975: And Its Significance for Today

By Alec Benn | Go to book overview

20
How and Why Discrimination Based on Class and Religion Declined on Wall Street

Ken Langone (as was mentioned in Chapter 7) was the investment banker who managed the first underwriting of stock of Ross Perot's company, Electronic Data Systems, Inc. In getting the account in June 1968 for Pressprich & Co., Ken beat out many bigger, more highly regarded firms including Merrill Lynch, Dillon Read, Goldman Sachs, Salomon Brothers, and G. H. Walker.

Shortly thereafter, Ken became Pressprich's CEO, yet only a few years previous, when Ken had tried to get a job as a stockbroker, he had been turned down time and time again. Turned down despite his obvious intelligence (he had graduated from Bucknell in 31/2 years). Despite his knowledge of finance (he had gotten an M.B.A. studying nights at N.Y.U., had been a brilliant financial analyst with Equitable Life Insurance Company the previous three years, and was teaching economics nights at N.Y.U.). And despite his sales ability (he had been successfully selling since he was a teenager).

Ken explains why he wasn't hired: "You had to go to the Harvard Business School or likewise. It didn't hurt if you went to Yale or some other --. It was principally a closed society. Jews could always go to a Jewish firm -- and they did: Kuhn Loeb, there was Wertheim, there was Lehman Brothers, ah, there was Salomon Brothers, Hirsch & Co., but for the most part if you looked at the other firms, Hornblower & Weeks . . . Dillon Read, Morgan Stanley, Hayden Stone, those firms were principally white Waspy firms."

Ken Langone was as courteous as the best brought up white-AngloSaxon-Protestant or Jew, but he wasn't either. He was big and burly, Roman Catholic and Italian-American, and his accent immediately iden-

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