Biography and Vita
The son of Savannah banker Charles Steadman Sanford, Sr. and the grandson of noted Georgia educator Steadman Vincent Sanford, Charles Steadman Sanford, Jr. has been an influential and thoughtful leader in the banking industry and highly engaged alumnus. A graduate of the University of Georgia and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Sanford is credited with having turned Bankers Trust into one of the most innovative and profitable financial institutions in the world. He was chairman and CEO of Bankers Trust from 1987 to 1996. He also served on the boards of numerous corporations, including Mobil Corp., J.C. Penney Co., and General Re Corp.
Sanford has also left an indelible mark on the University of Georgia. An active alumnus, he co-chaired the University’s Third Century Campaign and is an emeritus member of the UGA Foundation Board of Trustees. During the University’s bicentennial year, he created an endowed chair in the Terry College of Business in memory of his father. Most recently, Sanford helped lead efforts to build a new classroom building for the business school. Because of his and his wife Mary’s great contributions to both the University and the business school, the hall, dedicated in October 1997, is named for them.
Charles S. Sanford, Jr. is retired chairman and chief executive officer of both Bankers Trust Corporation and its principal subsidiary, Bankers Trust Company.
A 1958 graduate of the University of Georgia, Mr. Sanford served as a lieutenant with the U.S. Army before going on to earn an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. He joined Bankers Trust in 1961 and was appointed vice president in 1969, first vice president in 1971, senior vice president in 1973, executive vice president in 1974 and member of the Management Committee in 1979. He was elected president of the bank and the corporation in 1983, deputy chairman in 1986 and chairman and chief executive officer in 1987. Mr. Sanford relinquished the chief executive officer responsibility on January 1, 1996, and retired as an officer and a director of Bankers Trust on April 16, 1996.
During his tenure, Bankers Trust emerged from the ranks of traditional commercial banks to take its place among a handful of investment and commercial banks that the Wall Street Journal said would be the global leaders of the next century. Upon Mr. Sanford's retirement, Bankers Trust Director Hamish Maxwell, retired chairman and chief executive officer of Philip Morris Companies, Inc. (now known as Altria Group, Inc.), said, speaking for the board: "Charlie Sanford has been the principal architect of what has been recognized during his chairmanship as one of the most innovative and profitable global financial institutions, adding that future management would ...build on the remarkable achievements of Charlie's chairmanship."
Mr. Sanford, who began his career as a commercial banking officer in the National Banking Department, was appointed head of the firm's money and securities markets business in 1972, having been assigned to those businesses three years earlier. He was in charge of money and securities markets until 1983, during which time it came to be among the most respected trading, capital markets and funding operations on Wall Street. As chief executive officer, he led the firm's development as a highly regarded manager of risk for its clients.
During Mr. Sanford's tenure, Bankers Trust became a leader in challenging the status quo, instituting changes that were subsequently adopted broadly by the banking industry. These included the creation of a process for measuring risk (RAROC), which became the foundation for regulatory standards to measure bank capital adequacy; acting as placement agent and then underwriter for issuers of commercial paper and, subsequently, entry into the debt and equity markets in competition with investment banks; conceived and developed the business of the origination and distribution of loans which included the distribution of loans to other market participants, which was the forerunner to the establishment of an active secondary market for loans; the development of dynamic businesses around transaction processing services, which had previously been provided as an appendage to lending relationship; and as an architect of the modern use of derivatives, which are now used by corporations and institutions worldwide to manage risk.
Mr. Sanford's views on the role of risk in people's lives were expressed in a commencement address to the 1989 graduates of the University of Georgia entitled: "Life Value and the Paradoxes of Risk." It was delivered at Sanford Stadium, which was named after his grandfather, Dr. Steadman V. Sanford, who served as dean, president and chancellor of the University. On that occasion, President Knapp presented him with a Presidential Proclamation (Honorary Degrees were not authorized).
Mr. Sanford's continuing interest in the affairs of the University of Georgia has been expressed in various ways. His gift launched a fund raising effort that made possible construction of Sanford Hall. The building houses the classrooms of the University's Terry College of Business, as well as an auditorium and a student lounge. It includes a seminar room funded by a gift from the officers and directors of Bankers Trust, presented at the time of Mr. Sanford's retirement. The Georgia State Legislature directed that the building, which was dedicated in October of 1997, be named in honor of Mr. Sanford and his wife, Mary McRitchie Sanford, who is also a University of Georgia graduate. Mr. Sanford has also endowed a chair at Terry College in honor of his father, Charles S. Sanford, Sr. In addition, Mr. Sanford was a co-chairperson of the University's Third Century Fund, which was successfully concluded in early 1993.
Mr. Sanford has written on several themes. Among them, his thoughts on the future of the financial markets gained broad public attention. They were expressed in a 1993 paper, Financial Markets in 2020, delivered at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's annual Economic Symposium, attended by the heads of central banks and leading academics. A TIME magazine cover story called the paper a "Magna Carta for this new world of electronic finance." The article termed Mr. Sanford "a complex, brilliant figure in American finance," who "popularized the notion of risk management, one of the most important ideas in modern finance."
Also in 1993, Mr. Sanford delivered the ONeil-Abbott Distinguished Lecture, on The Social Value of Financial Services, at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration,University of Virginia. He addressed The Real Cost of Regulation in a 1992 speech at Brigham Young University, which discussed how regulation inhibits the human spirit's natural drive to innovate and achieve progress. His views on The Social Contract, in which he outlined what Bankers Trust and its employees have the right to expect from each other, were expressed in a 1992 talk to employees.
In 1994, Mr. Sanford presented a paper, "The Risk Management Revolution" at a symposium co-sponsored by the American Mathematical Society and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mr. Sanford has delivered a lecture on the influence of the media on business as part of the MBA Executive Lecture Series at The University of Georgia; on "Managing the Transformation of a Corporate Culture: Risks and Rewards", an address delivered as part of the 1996-97 Musser-Schoemaker Leadership Lecture Series at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He has been a speaker in the "Views, Insights, and Perspectives" Distinguished Speaker Series at the University of Texas. Mr. Sanford has also lectured on several occasions at Harvard Business School, Stanford Business School, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and at The University of Georgia.
Mr. Sanford was elected, as one of fifteen distinguished business leaders, to the original Wharton School Hall of Fame (now referred to as "Outstanding Alumni"). On its 125th Anniversary, Wharton named him one of the 125 most influential alumni and faculty in its history. He is a recipient of the International Executive of the Year Award from the Marriott School of Management of Bringham Young University, the Outstanding Financial Executive of the Year Award from the Owen Graduate School of Management of Vanderbilt University, the Distinguished Service Award of the Wharton School Alumni Association, the Distinguished Alumni Merit Award from the University of Georgia and its Alumni Society, the University of Georgia Blue Key Service Award, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Terry College of Business, the Banker of the Year Gold Award from the publication Wall Street Transcript and the George Washington Award for Patriotic Achievement from the Society of Cincinnati.
Mr. Sanford is an Emeritus Member of the Business Council, which is also known as the CEO Summit. He is a senior member and former trustee of the Conference Board, and a former member of the Board of Overseers of the Wharton School. He is an Emeritus Trustee of the Foundation Board of Trustees of the University of Georgia, and a member of the Terry College of Business Board of Overseers. Mr. Sanford is a member of The Apawamis Club of Rye, NY and the Bronxville Field Club.
Mr. Sanford served previously as a director of Mobil Corporation, Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, Constellation Energy Group, J.C. Penney Company and General Re Corporation; chairman of the New York Clearing House Committee; a governor and member of the Executive Committee of the Securities Industry Association; a director of the Public Securities Association; a member of the Business Roundtable, serving as chairman of the group's Federal Budget Task Force and a member of the Planning Committee, Policy Committee, International Trade and Investment Task Force and Education Initiative; a director and chairman of the Asset and Liability Committee of the Bankers Roundtable; a director of the International Monetary Conference; and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bond Club of New York and the Economic Club of New York. He has also served as a vestryman of St. Bartholomew's Church in New York City and a trustee of the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, NY.
Bankers Trust Corporation was the nation's seventh largest banking company, with assets of over $156 billion and offices in 45 countries prior to its merger with Deutsche Bank in 1999.
Speeches Available Online
- Thoughts for Risk Managers (May 2000)
- Managing the Transformation of a Corporate Culture: Risks and Rewards (November 1996)
- The Risk Management Revolution (October 1994)
- The Social Value of Financial Services (October 1993)
- Financial Markets in 2020 (August 1993)
- Social Contract (September 1992)
- Life Value and the Paradoxes of Risk (June 1989)
Wharton Case Study
Guill, G. D., Bankers Trust and the Birth of Modern Risk Management (2008, with 2009 epilogue)
The following speeches are available through the Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
- Thinking, Doing and Believing (June 1996)
- The Real Cost of Regulation (November 1992)
- Concept and Execution: Merchant Banking in Today’s Marketplace (October 1987)
- Careers and Lives: An Enlightened Alternative (September 1987)
- Deregulation, Technology and the ‘Safety of Soundness’ of the Financial System (March 1987)
- Today’s Bank in the Marketplace of Tomorrow (June 1986)
- The Burden of the State: Roots of the Latin American Debt Crisis (April 1986)
- People, Productivity, and Profits in a Deregulating World (March 1986)
- Investment Banking and Commercial Banking: The Eroding Boundaries (December 1985)
- Relationship Management in the Merchant Bank (November 1985)
- The Hard Part: Planning and Execution in a Deregulating Environment (October 1985)
- Regulation and Risk: The Hidden Costs of Limiting Competition (October 1984)
- The Challenges of Deregulation (September 1984)
- Glass-Steagall: An Anti-Competitive Relic (February 1984)