American Way What was it like giving up
the CEO title? Your name is still on the door, and a lot of people
associate the company Charles Schwab with Chuck Schwab the man.
Schwab Life has not changed around here. I've had
the pleasure of the CEO title for 30 years. I don't think I need to
do it for another 30.
Now I have David Pottruck, who has worked with me for 20 years, and
as CEO he has to execute. But I would consider myself an
extraordinarily active chairman. My role has not changed one
As I said to my wife, this will probably give me an hour a week
more, maybe two hours a week. Over a year's time it adds up. But
making sure you are on top of what is going on in a company like
this is a huge time investment.
American Way Have you thought about
Schwab No, I have no interest in retiring. I'm
having too much fun. [Pause] That's an overstatement. Right now is
not a fun time. We've gone through a horrible three years. I'm
looking forward to more even times, and I think we will see that in
the next few years. The government has been making the right moves.
Indicators are looking stronger. The market seems to be returning
to health. But it's not easy when you go through a growth thing as
we did in '98-'99, and then we had to reverse some of that.
American Way What's the hardest thing you
did during that period?
SchwabRetrenching. Letting people go. Cutting back
services. Cutting off the foreign expansion we had been doing.
Those are tough decisions. You have to really know what you are
doing. I understand the engineering of the company, so I made those
decisions. After 30 years of growing this business, I understand it
as well as anybody. If anybody understands it better, come forward.
You're hired! [laughs]