[The Wit and Wisdom of Rudi Eisenhart or Memories of an inspiring Mentor (1984-1991)]

I joined the dynamic and cosmopolitan culture of Chase Manhattan Limited (CML) London in 1982 and two years later moved to the new Loan Syndication team, set up along the lines of the bank's New York operation.
     Shortly after, we were informed that a “Big Honcho” was coming to London from New York to manage and expand the EMEA loan business and client coverage. The arrival of Rüdiger von Eisenhart-Rothe, whose very name evoked some trepidation, was anticipated with awe. It was soon clear to the London staff that we were all going to have to up our game, although the first impression of a self-assured Prussian officer belied a nurturing spirit, a warm sense of humor and a deep understanding of our business.
     Rudi inherited and expanded a client coverage team of European aristocrats and untitled but highly capable bankers from whom he commanded loyalty and respect. He recognised the need to exploit the resources of marketing officers in our EMEA branches, bringing for them to London for training and internships to shift their approach to a fee-driven investment banking culture. The younger bankers embraced this ethos and a number went on to become Country Managers. Rudi established dedicated Project Finance and Aircraft Finance teams that became leading arrangers in their fields, including the financing of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, the second linking of Europe with Asia over the Bosphorus in Istanbul. His newly established loan trading team, eventually strongly supported by Chase´s EMEA branch network, became the best in the market.
     I decided to focus on primary loan origination. I was confident I had the aptitude for the role, but I needed more self-confidence, which is where Rudi’s mentoring was invaluable. His marketing and origination skills were already renowned, especially after he, Nick Roskowski, the coverage banker, and Bob McDonald, a Chase veteran, pitched and won a mandate to arrange the European Union’s first syndicated loan, then one of the largest ever. Rudi negotiated a sole book running mandate for CML, ousting Deutsche and JPMorgan, who had been in pole position for the role.
     My colleagues and I learned from Rudi to take obstacles not as a detriment but as a challenge. We were successful in convincing many customers that Chase was far more valuable to them if we sold existing loans, keeping our powder dry to be able to take on large underwritings to meet their financing needs. Chase´s EMEA branch system needed to be convinced as well. Our success in Turkey, Italy, Greece and in particular with the electric utilities in Spain was due to the success of this strategy. As a consequence, Rudi became quite a celebrity with the CEOs and CFOs of the Spanish companies.
     Rudi increasingly involved me in the strategy of structuring and marketing, taking time to explain to me his thought process and teaching me as much in five years as I learnt from others in an entire career. Nevertheless, Rudi always insisted that CML’s success was a joint effort based on knowledge, experience and judgment of all involved, guided by him but executed by everybody with impressive engagement.
     Few senior managers appreciated being challenged or contradicted in group meetings. Rudi thrived on informed debate, forcefully arguing his case but always prepared to listen. He expected others to do the same, and his many memorable pronouncements included: “I hate dealing with pudding” and “He’s got the backbone of a rain worm.“ Whilst no one quite knew whether these statements were literal translations of German sayings or were of his own invention, the meaning was clear.
     Rudi’s liberties with English idiom occasionally produced memorable variants: “Don’t count your chickens before they’re hedged” and “From my vintage point” (Rudi frequently invoked the wisdom of the additional decade of experience he had over the rest of us) or “Play your cards close to your vest." At one meeting, listening to a confusing proposal from an associate, he interrupted announcing, “This is all tipsy-turvy,” leaving some in the room with the insinuation that perhaps the associate had enjoyed a liquid lunch. When Rudi left London to move to Germany in 1991, the Loan Syndication team presented him with a plaque in the form of a loan tombstone setting out his most memorable quotations, which he proudly displayed on the wall of his Frankfurt office.
     It is a measure of the affection and respect that the Loan Syndication team has for Rudi that over the past 25 years we have held reunion dinners with everyone eagerly anticipating his company. That he travels to London from his home in southern Spain for all of these dinners shows the respect to be mutual. 


In 1988, as a new graduate from Boston College, I was offered my first job as a Management Trainee in the Heritage Chase Management Development Program. Yahoo! You can imagine the joy I felt for securing this job offer. Finally, four years of university education was not all wasted; I did not have to move back home to Virginia, I could now pay off my ballooned student loan and, best of all, I got to live in Manhattan, NYC, for a year and a half! At least at the time, my time horizon was to complete the 18-month management training program and, by then, I would have had enough of the city life to move on to the next wherever.

     Back in the 1980s, a management trainee position at one of the big banks in NYC such as Chase Manhattan, Manufacturers Hanover, Chemical Bank or JP Morgan was a coveted position. The banks’ upper management did their best to ensure the trainees were well looked after, including an appointment of a mentor to each trainee for the duration of their training program.
     So, at the age of 23, I had my first mentor, Elizabeth Flynn (Liz). Liz, at the time, was a young Senior Vice President in one of the Operations departments. Thirty-three years on, I am now 56 years old, and Liz is still very much my mentor.
     I have always looked up to Liz; perhaps it was because she is six-foot-tall and I am five-foot-tall. I liked her from the very first time we met. Liz was direct; her no-nonsense management style made it easy to understand her, and, over the years, as I became a manager myself, I learned that frankness is an excellent quality to have. Liz was a dedicated mentor. She made time to see me every month. She would often treat me to lunch in the fancy Chase officer’s dining hall that sat high atop One New York Plaza. I must admit it was somewhat intimidating for a young trainee to dine in the officer’s mess with the big shots and waiters, fine china and silverware to boot. But during these hourlong lunches, I got to share with Liz what I was doing in my current rotation and ongoing group projects, my roommate situation and my life in general in the Big Apple. For the rest of my training, Liz became a mentor I could trust. Thanks to her, I felt secure and confident enough that I would be able to get through the demanding training program. I had a supporter and a cheerleader!

     After the management training program, I found myself not leaving Chase and not leaving Manhattan as I had planned. I would stay on to become a banker as the universe intended! Liz and I would continue to meet regularly, and I happily continued in a mentee role. The last lunch Liz and I had was in 1995 when I said goodbye before heading out to Chase Vietnam to help open the representative office and, subsequently, the branch. In all those years and up to now, Liz and I have kept in touch via Christmas cards. Until the children came, it was just the regular Christmas cards. Then we would exchange photos of our cute kids from toddlers to teenagers. Even though we were living on different continents, our lives were somehow running parallel. Liz married a foreigner. Me, too! Liz has two kids. Me, too! Liz and her family went on a safari in Africa. We, too! And would you believe it, two years ago, Liz's kids became Canadian citizens? Mine, too!

     I cherish every Christmas card I receive from the Flynn/Lott family. Thirty years plus go by so quickly. Lots of life has happened in between, but the memories of a young college grad meeting her mentor for the first time are still very fresh, and I still very much look up to her.

     My life and work in Asia with Chase were much more colorful and hectic than in NYC. In the second phase of my banking career, I found support from four extraordinary men: David Baggs, Carter Booth (photo, left), Peter Lighte and Ro Fallon. These men were my bosses and my boss's boss. These men had responsibilities for the Asian markets, and I, as a junior officer, had the extraordinary luck to work with them. I found the work to be hard in an emerging market, but these men were great mentors to me through it all. The endless travelling and endless meetings with clients somehow, at the end of the day, were met with waves of laughter over meals, bad karaoke  and road trips to the countryside. I eventually found work to be fun and exciting. And as time went by, I was welcomed into their personal lives and was fortunate to meet and get to know their families.

     Through David, Carter, Peter, and Ro, I learned what it takes to be a good banker, but at the core, I knew that they were successful because they are decent and kind people. They treated everyone with respect and were unwavering in their values. Their characters set them apart and they served as role models for me to be the kind of person I wanted to become. We continue to stay in touch long after we have all retired from banking!

     This Thanksgiving, I am humbled and grateful to Heritage Chase for giving me that first job that would propel me to have 13 wonderful years of work experience, and I am thankful for people like Liz, David, Carter, Peter and Ro who came into my life and made it more meaningful and beautiful.


In photo: Monica Altmann at 55 Water Street, circa 1984

I would like to share my story about my mentor Richard Guariglia
     I graduated CUNY at Queens College in 1979 with a BA to be a physical education teacher.  I quickly realized that with the city’s finances in terrible shape, I probably was not going to get a teaching position any time soon. I had been working as a Teaching Assistant for my college statistics professor, and he hired me full-time for the next three years as a data analyst in his small consulting practice. I loved the work we did. I learned some coding and data tabulation, and I loved the data analysis part of the job. We travelled around New York State doing projects for the government. In 1981, however, we were no longer getting the funding for the projects, and my boss told me he would have to let me go by the end of the year. I’d never gone on a job interview, and that was a little scary for me. A recruiter arranged the interview with Rich Guariglia in November 1981 at 55 Water St (Chemical Bank).
     I remember going with my somewhat skimpy résumé. I had skills using SPSS statistical analysis software and the job required the skills of SAS programming analysis. I was greeted warmly and had an interactive and probing interview. I didn’t have a lot of skills, but I think Richie saw my potential. Remember I had studied to be a teacher. I had never taken any computer programming classes my entire time at Queens College.  
     He hired me! I started January 4, 1982 and worked at the company until August 2005.
     I started with a great bunch of guys and quickly assimilated, always with the thought in the back of my mind that I really didn’t have the computer skills that I needed, but I had the analytic mind and I loved the work we did for the Human Resources Department. I thrived in the collegial environment.     
     A year later we got our first IBM PC. Richie handed it to me and said figure out how we’re going to use this thing for our jobs! I attribute all my successes to Richie giving me the first real shot at a career at Chemical, as well as the training and opportunity the company gave me. He took a chance on me, and I never wanted to let him down. We worked long hours into the night many many times and he was always there with us. We were all committed and driven to meet our deadlines, and we had fun at the same time. We were a real family back then. 
     After 23 years, I left JPMC and started a career as a real estate agent working for Douglas Elliman Real Estate; no work environment was ever quite the same as the environment that Richie provided for us. We’ve always stayed in touch and I even sold a property for him years ago. As far as I’m concerned, he’s always been the best boss I ever had! I hope he gets to read this! 


During 19 years at Chase, and indeed through my 41-year banking career, one outstanding mentor changed everything: Steve Friedman. Steve has a brilliant mind for credit analysis and a talent for teaching it in a way that’s both wholly understandable and somehow really fun. Steve took the stress out of credit analysis for me and freed up my mind to do much more creative and deeper thinking. Steve’s upbeat, humorous and effective support inspired me to focus on mentoring my own staff, so his was a gift that kept on giving. I’m still lucky to call Steve my friend many years later.


Peter J.E. Nice was Saudi Arabian Country Manager: Bahrain OBU 1977-80

In October 1977 I was recruited by the Middle East group directly from Credit Training in New York by Bill Flanz, who had been given new aggressive growth goals for the region. I had previously been slotted to work in Western Hemisphere.
     With no actual banking experience and 14 days’ notice, I left my apartment in New York and flew to the recently established Chase Bahrain OBU via Athens to meet the regional credit officer and via war-torn Beirut due to an airline mess up. In Bahrain, I reported directly to Peter. I was 22 years old. Chase would not get around to hiring my permanent team leader for another 18 months.
     Peter immediately assigned me accounts and, after updating pretty sketchy credit files sent from Cairo, we procured Saudi visas (not an easy task then). I was sent off to the eastern provinces and Riyadh to call on customers – alone. Those first meetings were a bit tough (terrifying?), but Peter was always available for coaching and a kind yet firm critic of the many missteps I made. He and his wonderful wife, Norma, opened up their home to me and the other new expats on many occasions. We did eventually make calls together and I worked with him on the Riyadh portion of two successful visits by David Rockefeller to the kingdom. I must have made some sort of impression because after one, the idea was floated down that I be transferred to Sanaa, Yemen, to staff a new office. I am eternally thankful that Peter shot this idea down before it could get traction, and the office was never opened.
     Peter got his experience a similar way with Standard Bank in Africa. He told stories of getting his first “Branch” in the bush at my age and travelling to it on a horse only to find the roof had blown away well before he arrived. Cash management was problematic in a branch without a roof but somehow he managed. By comparison we had it easy.
     Peter gave me exposure to Japan, Europe and U.S. corporate offices to help promote our Middle East capability. At the end of my Bahrain assignment, he paved the way for a transfer to Chase London. Shortly thereafter, Peter and Norma also moved to London. While we no longer worked together, he remained a close friend and trusted advisor.
     I could not have hoped for a more experienced or kinder banker as my first boss, and I happily look back on those years and the experiences he made possible.


No one would have blamed Robert J. Russo (“Bob”) for pulling his hair out in 1986 when he learned from his manager at the Chase Manhattan Bank that he was getting a new employee who knew absolutely nothing about the business. I arrived in Pension Trust Financial Services in New York City as a lateral transfer from another department, after a successful interview with Bob’s boss’s boss. Bob always starts the story of our relationship by recalling that I was a recent college graduate of Georgetown University and that I wore preppy duck boots on rainy days. And I’ll admit that I knew nothing. 
Bob took me under his wing and taught me the global trust and custody business. Bob was responsible for overseeing a book of retirement assets valued at $45 billion. The stakes were high for the Bank and for Bob.
     Slowly, I learned to monitor the accounts of the institutional pension clients for daily overdrafts, to make funds available by processing sales of short-term financial instruments held in the accounts, to check that the regular outgoing wires for pensioners’ benefit payments had taken place. Then I was eventually allowed to speak with the clients. This was long before phone lines were recorded and before there was any next-day QA. I made mistakes from time to time, but Bob encouraged me. I became a Team Leader managing others and was promoted to Assistant Vice President and Vice President. 
     Over the years, we had many spirited debates and arguments and great trips to meet with clients for service reviews and to discuss new business with prospects in cities including Albany, Seattle and San Francisco. Bob nicknamed me “Chief” and I, in turn, nicknamed him “Chief” because he taught me everything.
     In 1990, Bob supported me when I applied to be sponsored by the Bank for an Executive MBA. I was selected and then was accepted by Columbia University. I continued to report to Bob until 1993, when I accepted an offer at another financial institution. 
     I went on to have a fantastic and very rewarding career in financial services–all because Bob Russo took the time to teach me the business from the ground up. I learned bank operations, client management, sales, revenue and expense management, leadership and so much more…I learned about working and about life.
     Bob retired from the Bank a few years ago after a long and successful career spanning 41 years of service. We are still in touch from time to time. I am forever grateful to Bob for seeing past my duck boots and giving me a chance to learn from him. Thank you, Chief!

SALLY BALLWEG (shown circa 2002)

I'd like to recognize two individuals who had a significant impact on shaping my career. The first is Prescott (Scott) H. Blatterman, III and the second is Edward L. Nelson, Jr.
     I started at MHT in 1978 as a Management Trainee in the Metropolitan Division. My first manager was Scott Blatterman, where I worked in the Long Island CBC. Scott developed me–a recent college graduate and assigned as a credit analyst–to become a critical thinker and a succinct writer. He helped me to become more self- confident. Scott was a great mentor. He was always open to ideas and supported my career at a time when women were not well represented as officers of the bank. He was "tough but fair", and I appreciated his unwavering support of my career development.  
     I worked for Ed Nelson as a Group Executive in NAD I, covering large corporate clients in NYC. The greatest gift that Ed gave me was his support in letting me work a part-time work schedule after the birth of my son in 1988. There were no women Group Executives at the time who worked a four-day week, but Ed championed the cause. I became one of only two women at the time who were able to have a flexible schedule. Were it not for his advocacy, I don't think I would have been able to maintain my career track at the bank.
  Both of these amazing individuals contributed to my successful 29-year career. I am deeply grateful.


I want to acknowledge my first boss at Manny Hanny, Anthony J. Annucci, who was the head of the Stock Transfer Research Department at 4 NY Plaza. He took me into the College Trainee program and patiently taught me how to handle the work of the department. He retired from Chemical Bank a number of years ago, and he made a definite impression on me. I started working in the department in September 1968.




Giving Thanks to Mentors, Part 2

Thank you to the mentors who influenced generations of superb Chase bankers (and those of Chemical and MHT and other heritage institutions). These were men and women who shaped careers, values and interests, superiors who went beyond just being a boss.
If your story didn't make it into this first batch, or if you want to say more about someone cited by a colleague, please send your comments to news@chasealum.org.
Because of the number of submissions, we've divided the tributes into three parts:

►Janin Campos thanks Rudi von Eisenhart-Rothe

►Dé Pham Lifvenborg thanks Liz Flynn and     

   David Baggs, Carter Booth, Peter Lighte and 

   Ro Fallon

►Monica Altmann thanks Richard Guariglia

►Barbara Tsarnas thanks Steve Friedman

►Hugh Balloch thanks Peter Nice

►Gillian van Schaick thanks Bob Russo

►Sally Ballweg thanks Scott Blatterman & Ed Nelson

►Larry Bloom thanks Anthony J. Annucci



  CLICK FOR Part 1

►D. Sykes Wilford thanks Robert Slighton
►Ted Klingos thanks Cornelius (Neal) Howland
►Dede Gotthelf thanks Tony Woodward
►Robert C. Sutton Jr. thanks Chuck McCoy
►Martin Poole thanks Tom Harkins
►Frank Tallerico thanks Jane Magdasy
Jack MacPhail thanks: Laura Calhoun, Lee North,
   Larry Toal, John Vaughey, Palmer Turnheim, Tony
   Terraciano, Frank Stankard, Bob Hunter, Peter 
   Greer, Bill Flanz, Robert Binney, Mike Esposito,
   Mike Urkowitz, Bob Douglass, Bob Murphy, Arjan
   Mathrani and Michael Kruse
►Anonymous thanks John Ward


►Robert Shippee thanks Robert Strong
►Phil Sorace thanks Jerry Sullivan, Jim Brennan,
   Pete Bailey, Tony Terracciano, Mike Cassidy,                 Ron Keenan, Alden Small, Tim McGinnis, 
   Barbara O'Neal, Jack Woods, Palmer Turnheim,       Wolf Schoellkopf and Tom O'Reilly 
►Edith Orenstein thanks David M. Morris
►Gary Olson thanks John Philpot, George Perry;   
    also Bob Aberlin, Tim McGinnis, Don Chafee 
►Dick Hay thanks Dave Boyce and Stan Burns
►Lawrence DeVan thanks Peter Holzer, Bill Higgins         and Jack Hooper
►Marsh Carter thanks Frank Reilly
►Ed Moran thanks Kaye Jones, Marty Logan, Tom Hill,
    Paul Walker and Greg Brennan
►Herbert Aspbury thanks Don McCree Sr.
►John Hehir thanks Bob Barnes, Jack Gates, Francis
   Mason, Peter Nice, Ulises Giberga, Frank Reilly, 
   Mike Urkowitz, Liz Flynn, Don Boudreau and         
   Yoram Kinberg
Annette Whittemore thanks Jane Klivans
Jerry Hannon thanks Al Gamper, Ed Farley, John 
   Dowling, Jimmy Lee and, especially, John Zutter


►Dave Farrell thanks Bob Dandrea

►Brahm Nirgunarthy thanks John Fabrizio  

►Steve Wertheim thanks Tom Poplawski