News from Cass Business School

Bank of New York Mellon CEO reveals business insight to Cass audience

Bob Kelly guest of honour at special Cass lecture

Tuesday, 2 February, 2010

Bob Kelly, CEO of the Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) and Cass alumnus, gave an informal and encouraging presentation to an audience of Cass students, staff and alumni on January 28 where he revealed strategic insights from his time at the company.

The event was organised by the Mergers and Acquisitions Research Centre (MARC) at Cass and provided attendees with the opportunity to hear first-hand about what made the merger of The Bank of New York and Mellon Financial such a success.
The merger, which closed in July 2007, just weeks before the credit and liquidity crisis began, is continually applauded by the market.  BNY Mellon is widely considered to be one of the strongest surviving banking groups globally.  Mr Kelly explained that although the workforce was reduced by around 4,000 people or ten percent overall as a result of the merger, the business synergies produced have resulted in the organisation actually growing.
He said the key to the merger’s success was letting people know who their boss was early on in the process to minimise confusion, focusing on the culture of the new organisation and making sure employee engagement was strong; maintaining a disciplined turnover process which pitched the merger as one of equals and disallowing employees to refer to their old company by name, instead requiring them to preface the name with the word legacy.
Mr Kelly also said he was supportive of intervention into the banking industry saying there needed to be an ability to wind-down non-bank financial institutions, by taking over their financial holding companies and selling off their businesses without infecting the rest of the economy.
He also gave encouragement to current students saying he graduated from an undergraduate business degree in the 1970s when the economy was also difficult.  He said: It is a tough environment, but recessions always end and people are always looking for good people.  Whatever you decided to do try and do something you are excited about.  Mr Kelly said those who enjoy their jobs perform better and, as life is short, you don’t want to do something you don’t like.

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