Jimmy Dunne Gets Back to Business
Firm Works to Recover from Unthinkable Losses on Sept. 11

more iconListen to the complete interview.

more iconListen to Scott Simon's on-air interview with Jimmy Dunne.

Jimmy Dunne
Jimmy Dunne
Photo: courtesy Sandler O'Neill

Chris Quackenbush
Chris Quackenbush
Photo: courtesy Sandler O'Neill

Herman Sandler
Herman Sandler
Photo: courtesy Sandler O'Neill

Sept. 7, 2002 -- On Sept. 12, 2001, Jimmy Dunne went back to work. There wasn't a lot to go back to, but there was plenty to go back for.

Dunne's investment firm, Sandler O'Neill, was headquartered on the 104th floor of Two World Trade Center. Of the 83 people who showed up for work that day, only 17 survived the attack. Among those lost were Chris Quackenbush and Herman Sandler, two of the three partners on the firm's executive committee. Dunne was the third.

Earlier this year, Sandler O'Neill moved into new offices in Midtown Manhattan, and began showing a profit. This, even after the firm had paid out a year's salary to the families of each of the victims, as well as a minimum of five years' worth of health benefits. The thinking, as Dunne tells Scott Simon for Weekend Edition Saturday, was that the company "would be judged over a long period of time based on our relationships, our clients, and who we were rather than just the financial aspect of it."

Other Wall Street firms were thinking along the same lines, and early on several of them dropped their competitive instincts for a while and steered business toward Sandler O'Neill.

Things on the Street are pretty much back to their normal dog-eat-dog state, but Dunne hasn't forgotten the gesture. "We play hardball -- with class," he says. "And we expect our competitors to do so as well."

And Dunne himself is largely back to normal, too. "I've always been difficult to work for," he says. "There's no doubt about it. And I doubt that will change."

But the pain still lingers. "I'm better when I'm busy," he says. "But the very first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning and the very last thing I think about at night are those planes."


Previous Coverage

more iconScott Simon talked with Dunne and Fortune magazine editor Joe Nocera in January, just before Sandler O'Neill moved into its new offices.


Other Resources

more iconA Fortune magazine story about Sandler O'Neill's comeback.