They're Off! Merrill's CEO Horse Race

Chief Exec Komansky is signaling that Stanley O'Neal is no longer a shoo-in to run the company

It sounded like a sure thing. When Merrill Lynch & Co. Chairman and Chief Executive David H. Komansky promoted then-Chief Financial Officer E. Stanley O'Neal in February, 2000, to succeed John "Launny" Steffens as president of the company's army of 15,000 brokers in the U.S., the popular perception was that unless something went horribly wrong, O'Neal would be named next in line to run America's No.1 retail brokerage.

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