"Unless you came from a wealthy family and had good connections you couldn't get in the business."
When Sanford Weill first looked for work on Wall Street, he had no great connections and his parents in Brooklyn were certainly not wealthy. In spite of these obstacles, he built the second largest company in the financial services industry: Shearson Lehman Brothers.
After merging his company with American Express, and serving as President of the combined enterprise, Weill left it all behind and began again from scratch. Beginning with a few obscure and undervalued companies, he built a second financial empire, the Travelers Group, which absorbed the brokerage Smith Barney before regaining control of Shearson from American Express. To this formidable conglomerate, Weill added the investment house of Salomon Brothers, before merging the entire Travelers Group with Citicorp, parent company of Citibank, creating the world's largest financial services company, Citigroup.
Weill always invested heavily in any company he ran, and encouraged his employees from the top down to do the same. His companies prospered through the dedication of their shareholder-employees, and their success in the marketplace has enriched not only Sanford Weill, but the thousands of men and women who worked with him. Weill has dedicated much of his fortune philanthropy. His gifts to the arts and education are commemorated in the several university buildings that bear his name, not least those of Weil Medical College at Cornell University.