@DTCC asked several industry executives to share their thoughts about Don, his contributions to the industry and his leadership style. Here’s what they had to say.
Don created DTCC as it is today. In six years, he changed the whole philosophy and culture of the firm. We became much more globally oriented and client-centric. He recognized the value we could bring to the international financial markets and empowered people to pursue a whole new range of businesses and services based upon the organization’s capabilities.
No one knows this business better than Don. Any question you may have, he always has the answer. And nobody works harder and is more productive. Since I joined the company in 2007, Don has been the CEO, so I’ve always reported to him – and he’s been great to work with.
Don is unflappable. I’ve never seen anyone who has such grace under pressure. But the thing I admire most is his inner strength. Don has a remarkable ability to deal with almost any circumstance and the stress of it, without imparting that stress to the rest of his staff or losing his composure and sense of humor. I’ve been on Wall Street for 30 years and worked for some incredibly talented individuals, and none of them compare with Don in that sense. His moral fiber is one of the most incredible things I’ve experienced on Wall Street.
I’m also amazed at how successfully Don integrated new people, like me, into an organization that had a lot of very talented, long-tenured individuals. He set the tone at the top, making it known that there was tremendous respect for people who created this firm and also a need to bring in outside talent. And the marriage of the two has made DTCC what it is today – and that was Don’s vision.
Don has been a fantastic mentor, a great boss and a wonderful colleague.
– Michael Bodson, DTCC President and CEO-elect
Under Don’s leadership I have seen DTCC transform into a strong strategic business partner that collaborates with the industry to build solutions so we can better serve our clients.
Don is extraordinarily responsive and accessible. He has a collaborative, solution-oriented approach, exceptional communication skills – including the listening part – and brings a balance of the theoretical and the practical to the table, which is needed to drive initiatives forward.
–Joseph Lifrieri, Managing Director, Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.
Don and I work together every day. We are partners with Mike and the rest of the management team in moving the company forward.
Don is very smart, and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the company, which has been very helpful to me as someone who has only been here for 13 months.
He’s easy to work with because he’s very direct. When Don has something he wants to talk to you about, you don’t have to spend a lot of time figuring it out. He’s very forthright, which is how I am, so it’s an easy relationship. And his level of personal productivity is unbelievable. I’ve never seen anyone who could turn things around as quickly as Don.
– Robert Druskin, DTCC Executive Chairman
Don has a remarkable command of the complexities and nuances of clearance and settlement. Having grown up in DTCC, Don’s mastery comes as a result of years of experience including epic events such as the Lehman crisis, when he was CEO, and 9/11, when he was at the helm of Operations. Don’s intelligence and exceptional knowledge helped steer DTCC through these events, contributing to DTCC emerging as an even stronger institution.
As CEO, Don underscored that good risk management comes from understanding how products and services really work. Don demonstrated his leadership during the 2008 crisis, providing a steady hand at a time of unprecedented turmoil and uncertainty. As the industry moved into a new, post-crisis era, Don redirected the agenda by launching DTCC 3.0, which successfully redefined the role of risk management at DTCC.
On a personal note, Don is a calm, strong and trusted leader. His modesty, straight-forwardness and understated style command great respect. In all of his dealings, Don displays the highest level of personal integrity. He is fair, thoughtful and deliberate and, as a Board member who worked closely with Don over many years, I will miss him greatly.
–David Weisbrod, Vice Chairman, Risk Management, JPMorgan Chase Bank, and DTCC Board Member
As a Board member, I couldn’t have asked for a better leader of DTCC. Don is a great partner, a strong businessman and the ultimate professional. I’ve watched him lead the company through some serious crises, and his leadership skills during difficult times are strong. Don is very focused on his mission and under his direction, DTCC has established itself as a world leader in the securities industry.
Don always did an outstanding job of keeping the Board up to date on issues facing DTCC, and it was a very open dialogue. He told us what he was thinking, his recommended strategy and his assessment of the risks. And he always listened to the Board’s perspective, which gave me complete confidence that I could work openly with him.
I’ve had a lot of interaction with Don over the years and it’s been a total pleasure. I’ve learned from him and feel that our partnership has helped DTCC enjoy tremendous success as an organization.
– Art Certosimo, Senior Executive Vice President, Bank of New York Mellon, and DTCC Board Member
Don’s legacy will be that he built a great team at DTCC, which has been a significant benefit to the industry. Because of this, DTCC is extremely well positioned to manage the many tough new challenges our industry is facing and will continue to face in the future. The caliber of the people has made the industry more inclined to use DTCC to take on major initiatives, such as the OTC derivatives work and the LEI [legal entity identifier] system. It has also helped to further enhance DTCC’s capabilities in risk management.
People across the industry really like working with Don. He commands respect because of his great knowledge of the business and because of his honesty, integrity and fairness. Don has been an excellent CEO for DTCC and Chairman of Omgeo’s Board of Managers. He has made the industry more safe and sound throughout his career. Don’s impact on the industry will be felt for many years to come. He should be very proud of all he accomplished.
– Peter Johnston, Global Head of Risk and Control, Operations Division, Goldman Sachs
Don is a person of such high integrity that no matter what the situation or difficulty, he never wavers from his core values. That consistency is one of the qualities I admire most.
Don has guided DTCC through some very challenging times and it’s been remarkable to watch his leadership skills. He’s unflappable. Whether good times or bad, Don is always calm, which sets the tone not only for the DTCC team but for the Board, as well. And the more difficult the situation, the more Don differentiates himself.
Don has all the qualities of great leaders – management and communication skills, a strong intellect, a commitment to always do the right thing. He also knows how the plumbing of this organization works, and that strong technical competence allows him to interface most effectively with both the industry and with DTCC’s employees.
As a Board member and client of DTCC, I find Don’s leadership style to be extremely reassuring, especially in an environment where the velocity of change is accelerating all the time. I consider it a privilege to have worked closely with Don. I’ve learned a great deal from him.
–Gerard LaRocca, Managing Director, Chief Administrative Office, Americas, Barclays Capital, and DTCC Board Member
Don is one of those extraordinary leaders who envisions opportunities, goes after them and makes them real – because he also has excellent execution. He has transformed DTCC, broadening its scope and building on the existing infrastructure to leverage it into new areas, which has opened opportunities for all of us in the industry.
Don also reimagined risk management at DTCC. Very few organizations are as effective at risk management as DTCC but after 2008, Don set a stretch goal of “yet higher” and delivered on it. At the same time, he stepped up and has taken a leading role in dealing with regulators and legislators – and when Don speaks, people listen because he’s worth listening to. He is very thoughtful and insightful.
As a leader, Don is calm, trustworthy, balanced and unflappable. He has also built a strong leadership team and culture that will continue after he retires.
–Robert Prigge, Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo Trust Operations, Wealth, Brokerage and Retirement Division