The Business On... Jon Corzine, Chief executive, MF Global
Friday 04 February 2011
Third time lucky, let's hope
Now, don't be cruel. This is a source of some chagrin to Mr Corzine. For someone so rich and successful, it is remarkable that he should be more famous for losing than he ever was for winning.
But what spectacular losses
He clawed his way from a small family farm in Illinois to the chief executive ship of the mightiest investment bank of all, Goldman Sachs, and he was the most powerful advocate internally for the company to go public. But yes, that was eclipsed by his humiliating ouster, when Hank Paulson manoeuvred against him and he was fired whilst away on a family skiing holiday in 1999.
And New Jersey. Don't forget New Jersey
He confounded the doubters by winning a Senate seat in 2000 and then the governorship of the Garden State five years later, becoming one of the Democrat party's biggest fundraising assets in the process. But, yes, his ex-wife did put the knife in, saying he "let his family down, and he'll probably let New Jersey down, too". Then, he did fail to get the state's finances in order and was run out of office last year.
So third time lucky, let's hope
There's an element of "if you can't join em, beat em" in his decision to join MF Global, the little derivatives broker that was spun out of the UK's Man Group a few years back.
He has got grand plans?
He set some of them out yesterday. MF Global is going into asset management, beefing up its proprietary trading, looking for acquisitions. Also this week, it got into the exclusive and lucrative little club of firms that can take part in auctions of new US government debt.
How is it going so far?
So far, so loss-making. Results yesterday were poor. But Mr Corzine, now 64, has signed up for another three years to make it work. His friends say he wants to turn MF Global into a "mini-Goldman". We'll see.
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