Cruz on Wall Street: It’s not easy sailin’!

4 Jun


There’s no argument on whether gender inequality exists in today’s working world, which is why as a young woman re-entering the workforce, I find stories like Zoe Cruz’s fascinating, inspiring and despite the outcome – absolutely encouraging. Her story is a testament to the times, and illustrates what women have had to systematically endure for years, and personally – her perseverance and triumph.

Read the full story in the New York Magazine by Joe Hagan, who attempts to tell Cruz’s story, as one of the most powerful women on Wall Street. In his article entitled ‘Only the Men Survive,’ Hagan highlights the goings-on behind the scenes, blatantly exposes those directly involved in Morgan Stanley’s loss of billions of dollars, and the ultimate debate surrounding Cruz’s dismissal.

Background on Zoe Cruz:

  • Harvard graduate and Harvard Business School graduate.
  • Started at Morgan Stanley as a trader in 1982, and rose to Managing Director by 1990, despite being passed over for a promotion that went to a male colleague.
  • Tripled the size of the foreign-exchange division in three years, and was finally promoted to manage $2 billion fixed-income division in 2000.
  • Revenues in Cruz’s division rose by 110 percent in 2006, earning her $30 million that year, and by the beginning of 2007 the firm earned $1 billion.
  • Forbes named her No. 16 on the list of the 100 most powerful women in the world.
  • Cruz was singularly blamed for losing Morgan Stanley billions of dollars in 2007, and on November 29, 2007, was asked to resign by the President.

 

 

Observation #1:
What I loved about this article was a clever bar graph clearly revealing Cruz’s supporters and adversaries throughout her career. Hagan exposed those who displayed resentment and bitterness towards Cruz (those hilighted in green, how apt), and subsequently portrayed her as a target. He even stated that her dismissal was a long time coming, what a surprise. If ever there were an article that you didn’t want a writer/journalist to write about you, as a business person on Wall Street – this would be it! A loud document that publicly describes you as fearful, petty, chauvinistic, and embittered, and echoed by many at that! I wonder if any of these men feel slightly embarrassed?

Observation #2:
It’s very clear from the article that the man, who actively helped to create her career, was the one man who single-handedly stripped her of it (see the final break-up in green). So what does this ultimately say about the dynamic of our business relationships, our mentors, our ‘friends,’ and our ability to create our own destiny?

Observation #3:
Does Hagan dodge the real issue here? I’d like to know why was Cruz singled out and blamed for the loss?  Or do we already know the answer to that question?

Observation #4:
Cruz was referred to as the ‘Cruz Missile’ – how shocking! Her ability and capability landed her several promotions over ‘the boys,’ while she vehemently ‘broke the rules in the boy’s club.’ So she’s proof that there is space in the club for an assertive woman in the 21st Century. It can be done. But it didn’t last for very long. So the question remains, “Is a woman’s strength in business, still her ultimate demise?”


These are my thoughts, I’d love to hear from everyone on this topic!

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3 Responses to “Cruz on Wall Street: It’s not easy sailin’!”

  1. chipper HO June 7, 2008 at '16:40' #

    yeah staffeen…
    i read it before …couldve commented …didnt…
    but ill have a go at it…now…
    gender smender…

    one day ill get a seat on the tube cos im a women…
    one day ill get into a school cos im a women…
    one day ill get a job cos im a women…

    one day ill be a housewife cos im a women…
    one day ill be president cos im a women…
    one day ill die cos im a women…

  2. Frank Litorco June 8, 2008 at '3:56' #

    A gay friend of mine living in the US once quipped that legalizing gay marriages will inevitably allow homosexuals to share similar miserable experiences that married (and oft-divorced) heterosexual couples are already entitled to. That’s one way of looking at it. In the same distorted sense, the author makes it appear that Cruz’s rise and subsequent dismissal on Wall Street was as inevitable as it was historic. She never really saw herself as a role model for the women’s movement. She played the game on Wall Street as good as any person, male or female, could, given her energy, knowledge and personality. Ruthless? Yes. Confrontational? No doubt. Committed? To a fault.

    To me, it seemed she ultimately let her guard down at the worst time, then failed to see the knife coming before it stabbed her in the back. I don’t have much sympathy for anyone who is willing to play this high-stakes game on Wall Street, where money and greed appear to be all-consuming, and I suspect that it could have happened just as easily to a man if he was in her position. Although gender discrimination may have played a part in her dismissal, one can’t disregard the other factors like her abrasive personality, the sub-prime mortgage crisis directly and negatively impacting the risky trading division for which she was responsible, and the dog-eat-dog Wall Street game in which she was a more-than-willing participant. Hopefully with the money she’s earned at Morgan Stanley, she can become a prominent philanthropist and do some good in the world (for a change).

  3. staffeen thompson June 9, 2008 at '23:25' #

    I appreciate CH & Frank for your responses. Two very different takes on such a sensitive issue. I respect that. Thank you.

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