The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jolted NYSE begins hunt for Grasso’s successor

New York, Sept. 19 (Reuters): The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), struggling to repair its image and map out a future without ousted boss Richard Grasso, said it would consider splitting his old job, as some of the world’s top financial figures shunned suggestions that they might fill his shoes.

One day after recommending, and later accepting, Grasso’s resignation, the world’s No. 1 stock market, under the temporary watch of board member H. Carl McCall, said the board would discuss possible successors and the exchange's future structure.

For his part, McCall said in a press conference that he already had a job and did not want to run the NYSE on a permanent basis.

“I am confident that we will be able to find the leadership that is necessary to continue the pre-eminent position of the NYSE,” he said.

But he said a special committee conducting an internal review of the NYSE’s governance would consider broad changes, including splitting the top jobs, changing the structure of its 27-member board and altering its ownership structure.

The special governance committee, which has been conducting an internal review of the exchange's governance since February, will be ready with its report “shortly”, McCall said.

With Grasso now gone, attention turned to who may get the big office next.

One name bandied about was William McDonough, the former president of the New York Federal Reserve and the current head of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. However, his spokeswoman said he was happy at the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

Spokespersons for Donald Marron, former head of brokerage PaineWebber, and Robert Rubin, chairman of Citigroup Inc's executive committee and former US treasury secretary said neither man was interested.

On Wednesday, the NYSE asked board member Larry Sonsini, a corporate attorney based in San Francisco, to take the job on an interim basis, but he turned it down.

Grasso stepped down at an emergency board meeting on Wednesday as he faced a flood of criticism for accepting a $140 million board-sanctioned payout. McCall, one of the directors who signed off on Grasso’s controversial pay package, said he voted in favour of asking Grasso to resign after a spirited conversation.

Until a successor is found, daily operations at the exchange are being handled by co-chief operating officers Robert Britz and Catherine Kinney, a pair of long-time Grasso loyalists.

Grasso’s vibrant manner and flair for joining sports heroes, super models and firefighters in the spotlight — largely praised during much of his career at the NYSE — was noticeably absent on Thursday.

It hit floor members square in the face at the ringing of the exchange's opening bell.

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