The economy is moving so quickly now that delivering great results doesn’t guarantee a job.
Sallie Krawcheck, one of the best-known women on Wall Street and the CEO of Ellevate, a network of professional women, can personally attest to that.
After being pushed out of Citigroup in 2008, Krawcheck took on the position of president of Global Wealth and Investment Management at Bank of America.
She was then let go in 2011 not long after current CEO and chairman, Brian Moynihan, took the top job. Her exit came as a shock.
“The Bank of America one felt like a random act of violence, because … [my division] was growing, it might have been the only business there that was growing at the time,” Krawcheck told Bloomberg anchor Betty Liu during a podcast.
“Then you get that [the company is] going in a different direction. I understand how people sort of have that insecurity about, ‘Will my job be there?'”
And that insecurity is only likely to increase, even for people who are doing a great job at work.
“Increasingly because the economy is changing so much, and business is changing so much, it can be true for people who are outperforming,” she said.
Krawcheck said she anticipated her divorce from Citigroup because of her tense relationship with then-CEO Vikram Pandit, but her exit from Bank of America was unexpected. Though Bank of America was struggling in 2010 and CEO Ken Lewis had stepped down, making way for Moynihan, Krawcheck had delivered strong results.
In the second quarter of 2011, Krawcheck’s business boosted income by 54% to $506 million, amid an overall loss of $8.8 billion posted by the Bank of America.
“I kept telling the team that it’s OK, he’s got bigger fish to fry … Deliver the results — we’re going to be fine,” Krawcheck said.
But she also knew she had a weakness in one key area: she wasn’t close with the key rainmaker — the new CEO, Moynihan.
“I kept telling the team, ‘You know, I’m not a dumb woman … I knew the CEO was not the one that hired me, he and I were not going out for drinks at night,'” Krawcheck said. “So I knew I wasn’t his best friend, I wasn’t in the inner circle, you know. I didn’t find out about stuff in a meeting before a meeting — I found out about it in the meeting.”
But Krawcheck took the split as a sign to engage in new opportunities.
“It felt like karma sort of said: ‘Reboot. Reboot. Try something else, rather than do the same job again and again, try something else,'” she told Liu. “So when I came out of Merrill and was really thinking about the next job, I had opportunities to go back to big companies, and I thought, I feel like I’ve had lightning strike me and say, ‘Go do something else.'”