Shearson - History - Shearson/American Express

Shearson/American Express

See also: American Express

During the 1980s, American Express embarked on an effort to become a financial services supercompany. In mid-1981 it purchased Sanford I. Weill's Shearson Loeb Rhoades, the second largest securities firm in the United States to form Shearson/American Express. Shearson Loeb Rhoades, itself was the culmination of several mergers in the 1970s as Weill's Hayden Stone, Inc. merged with Shearson, Hammill & Co. in 1974 to form Shearson Hayden Stone. Shearson Hayden Stone then merged with Loeb, Rhoades, Hornblower & Co. (formerly Loeb, Rhoades & Co. and Hornblower & Weeks) to form Shearson Loeb Rhoades in 1979. With capital totalling $250 million at the time of its acquisition, Shearson Loeb Rhoades trailed only Merrill Lynch as the securities brokerage industry's largest firm. After its acquisition by American Express, the firm was renamed Shearson/American Express.

After selling Shearson to American Express, Weill was given the position of president of American Express in 1983. The following year, Weill was named chairman and CEO of American Express's insurance subsidiary, Fireman's Fund Insurance Company. Weill grew increasingly unhappy with responsibilities within American Express and his conflicts with American Express' CEO James D. Robinson III. Weill soon realized that he was not positioned to be named CEO and after the firm's merger with Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb, Weill chose to resign from American Express in August 1985. Weill would return to building a large financial services company of his own, which would become Citigroup and would go on to acquire the core Shearson brokerage business that he had built in the 1960s and 1970s.

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