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Rating:What Lew Sanders Learned Pumping Gas (and More) Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Monday, January 7, 2008

What Lew Sanders Learned Pumping Gas (and More)

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Lew Sanders is getting a star turn in this week's Barron's. It turns out that the AllianceBernstein chief got his start changing tires and pumping gas at his father's Long Island gas station. Later he studied applied mathematics as an undergrad at Columbia University before joining Sanford C. Bernstein's sell-side research department in 1968 (just months after its founding in October 1967).

Forty some years later, the 61-year-old is running one if the largest U.S. asset managers (Alliance has more than $800 billion in AUM, including $90 billion or so in mutual funds).

Sanders credits the gas station for teaching him the importance of clients to any business.

"Clients come to you because they have an investment objective they want to meet, and you have to do that well," Sanders tells Barron's. "Otherwise, nothing else matters. They need to feel comfortable that you've done the research and that you have a grasp on what's going on."

The article does not spill much dirt, calling Sanders a "tough, articulate leader" while noting that he is "as adept at running a company as he is at running a portfolio" and that "he doesn't suffer fools gladly."

Still, colleagues -- including Janus CEO Gary Black -- tell Barron's that he has ability to "manage an organization, retain good employees and build a consensus."

"He's a real-world guy. He gets the big picture, but he gets the details, too," says Black.

Roger Hertog, Sanford C. Bernstein's former president and chief operating officer, says that Sanders "loves problem-solving, whether it involves the economy, a company or stem-cell research."

"You could describe a whole business to him and, within minutes, he'll know the key issues that will make this business successful or not," adds Richard Pzena, founder of Pzena Investment Management.

Read the entire article, it is well worth the time for those interested in the course Sanders is plotting for AllianceBernstein.  

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