Friday, May 08, 2009

Al Gordon, Wall Street Legend

As a kid with a summer job at Kidder Peabody over half a century ago, I didn't see much of Al Gordon. But I do remember him as an impressive, down-to-earth guy. Gordon, who started his Wall Street career in 1925 and started running marathons in his 80s, was Harvard's oldest living graduate. He died May 1 at the age of 107.

Gordon came from an era when Wall Street made money the old fashioned way. Wonder what he thought of the recent crop of financial CEOs and their supersized paydays? Probably not much, judging from this anecdote Douglas Martin includes in Gordon's obituary:

… Mr. Gordon offered cash rewards to employees who quit smoking. He always flew economy, and when he noticed a young Kidder vice president sitting in first class, Financial News reported in 2001, he penciled a note for a flight attendant to pass on.

"What is the food like up there?" it read.

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