Up Front: HONCHOS
SANDY WEILL'S BURNING AMBITION
AS SUMMER FADES, SANFORD Weill looks forward to once more indulging his love of a crackling fire--at work. The Travelers chief executive recently had a fireplace built in his new offices in Lower Manhattan. Dominating the library between Weill's office and Travelers President James Dimon's, the hearth's glow gives a homey feel to a center of financial power.
This is Weill's fourth office fireplace, all of them in modern office towers. The first was built in the 1970s, when Weill ran Shearson, on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center--earning it a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's highest working fireplace. As American Express' president in the mid-1980s, Weill had one installed in the World Financial Center. Next, as Primerica's CEO, he put one in the midtown IBM Building. Weill says he doesn't know how much a New York office fireplace costs, but installers say it can range from $12,000 to $16,000.
What's his fascination with fire? Weill likes to gather around the hearth with employees or clients and unwind. Says Weill: "It takes a tense environment and makes it more relaxed and thoughtful."EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT, WITH OLUWABUNMI SHABI Leah Nathans Spiro