April 17, 2006

Merrill Lynch Executive Bob McCann Speaks to Sell-Out Crowd



The Neeley School can claim some very high-profile, successful people as graduates. That was evident when MBA alumnus Bob McCann was the featured speaker at the Charles Tandy Executive Speaker Series.

McCann is executive vice president of Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., based in New York, where he worked his way up not long after receiving his MBA at TCU in 1982. In 2003, he was named vice chairman of the firm's Wealth Management Group, overseeing Global Private Clients, Merrill Lynch Investment Managers and Global Securities Research and Economics.

McCann was introduced by Dr. Stan Block, Professor of Finance for the Neeley School, who lauded McCann's past and current success. McCann said he owed much of what he has accomplished in his professional life to Block's wisdom, advice and confidence in him as a young man. McCann also acknowledged Mike Berry, president of Hillwood Corp., his roommate while at TCU and whose father helped him meet influential Fort Worth people.

McCann said that when he arrived at Merrill Lynch in New York, he was the only associate in the MBA Sales & Training program not to graduate from an Ivy League School.

"And so to the MBA students here today, let me say that you are getting a quality education here at TCU. Take advantage of all that it has to offer: Have confidence. Think big. Have your own definition of success."

McCann said he thrived at TCU. "Dr. Block had already put TCU on the map by starting the Educational Investment Fund back in 1973," he said. "The EIF is a program that allowed me and hundreds of students over the years to manage real money in a portfolio, and perhaps more importantly, it taught us to learn the fundamental concepts of investing. Today, more than 100 other schools have replicated the idea of an Educational Investment Fund."

McCann talked about how Merrill Lynch has remained the leader in financial services by reinventing itself at critical times over a 100 year history. He also discussed how the role of the wealth manager has evolved in recent years. He ended with a look at the culture at Merrill Lynch.

"It is a company's ability to identify changes in the environment and adapt their business model that is critical to its survival," he said. "A company, especially one that is large and established, can appear on the surface to be calm and orderly - set in its ways - conducting business as usual. But as all of you know, there is no such thing as business as usual, especially in financial services where change is constant. And so successful companies are always undergoing tremendous change, always evolving. Merrill Lynch is a good example of that."

McCann stated that there is a direct link between the strength of a company's culture and the strength of its business.

"To remain the industry leader, to continue to grow and to thrive, we need to have a culture that stands for: Excellence in everything we do. Integrity in all of our dealings with clients and colleagues. Creating value for our clients, for if we fail to create value then there is no reason for us to exist. And meritocracy, where all of our employees have the opportunity to build long and rewarding careers based on the merit of their work.

"I had the good fortune to experience the proud culture of TCU, and now to work to enhance the culture of Merrill Lynch," he concluded.

In addition to his speech that morning, McCann took time from his busy schedule to visit with students in the Educational Investment Fund at the Neeley School. McCann spent 45 minutes with the students, offering advice and encouragement.

"He told us to have confidence, that we can do anything, and not to be intimidated by anyone," said senior undergraduate Mark Olivier. "I was very impressed that he took the time to come to the business school and address the members of the fund. He was very cordial."

The Charles Tandy Executive Speaker Series brings exceptional business professionals to share their stories with members of the Metroplex business community. Four breakfast sessions take place each school year; the next series will begin Fall 2006. Visit www.ctess.tcu.edu regularly for upcoming details and to add your name to the invitation list.



Elaine Cole
PR/Event Manager
Neeley School of Business