Moynihan: crisis to leave scars

BANK chiefs will “wear the scars” of the crisis for the rest of their lives, Bank of America chief executive Brian Moynihan said during a debate on the “future of capitalism” yesterday.

Moynihan had jumped to defend himself from the charge that the “old industries and institutions” are incapable of producing the necessary changes post-crisis.

Speaking for fellow bankers, he told an audience member: “You should rest assured that every one of our institutions is so different from what we ran a few years ago. We know that and we’ve learned from that. We wear the scars [of the crisis] still today and will continue to wear them for the rest of our careers. We understand that and we are trying to move forwards.”

He also said that large corporations like BofA face a “huge challenge” to avoid stagnation and to adapt sufficiently. “Our job is to hustle [talent],” he said. “These premises that get thrown out – that large companies don’t innovate – we’ve got to think that through.”

Also speaking was Sharan Burrow, head of the International Trade Union Confederation, who warned: “This is just going to get worse, not better. Emerging economies cannot pull the west out of this. [It’s a problem] having an austerity strategy and not a growth strategy. It’s not going to help globalisation.”

She came under fire from Ben Verwaayen, chief executive of French technology firm Alcatel-Lucent (owner of Bell Labs), who responded: “When I hear you make speeches saying ‘We are ready for solutions and if only the other side will do what we want, we will go back to what we were’ – we won’t go back. What I’d like is a little bit of perspective from your side, from the labour movement.”