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Even C-Level Wall Street Execs Face Challenging Job Market

Already battered by massive job losses -- from the C suite through the rank and file -- Wall Street is likely to see more job cuts before the worst is over.

Early 2008 has been a rough ride for Wall Street. The first part of the year saw some of the worst layoffs in recent history, and executive chairs at some of the industry's top firms have been swiveling faster than ever.

Even Wall Street’s most venerable firms haven’t been immune to job cuts. According to Crain’s, more than 20,000 industry jobs have been lost in New York City alone. Worldwide estimates are even more staggering.In the past year, 22,000 New Yorkers who worked on Wall Street have lost their jobs, according to a Crain's estimate. And the pink slips are expected to keep flying. About 7,000 Bear Stearns employees are newly on the job market following the firm's acquisition earlier this year by JPMorgan. And other Wall Street stalwarts -- including Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, UBS and Morgan Stanley -- also have announced drastic staff reductions. In all, New York City's Independent Budget Office estimates that 33,300 Wall Street employees will be on the street looking for work by next year.

The turmoil has reached the C suite. Recent changes at the top include the ouster of former Wachovia CEO Kennedy Thompson, ending a three-decade-long career on Wall Street; Credit Suisse CIO Thomas J. Sanzone jumping to Merrill Lynch to become EVP and chief administrative officer; John Thain replacing Stan O'Neal as CEO of Merrill Lynch; Diane Schuneman's retirement from Merrill Lynch as SVP and head of global infrastructure solutions after 36 years with the company; former Credit Suisse senior compliance officer Steve Matthews' move to Nasdaq OMX as chief legal and compliance officer of its new pan-European market for blue chips; and ex-Goldman Sachs executive Ralph Frankel's jump to Solace Systems, a supplier of high-speed, low-latency content networking systems, as CTO.

But is all the movement in the executive ranks simply fallout from the subprime mortgage collapse and subsequent credit crisis?

"It's overly simple to ascribe this to the credit crisis," says Shawn Banerji, managing director in the global technology practice at New York-based Russell Reynolds Associates. "Although that is a contributing factor."

Melanie Rodier has worked as a print and broadcast journalist for over 10 years, covering business and finance, general news, and film trade news. Prior to joining Wall Street & Technology in April 2007, Melanie lived in Paris, where she worked for the International Herald ... View Full Bio

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