Bisignano Joins Mike Piazza at 9/11 Memorial and Museum BenefitBy
First Data CEO is honored with BNY Mellon, Starr Foundation
John Oliver emcees; Leon Cooperman, Kevin Plank are guests
Frank Bisignano, CEO of First Data, and Mike Carpenter, former CEO of Ally Financial, huddled Wednesday night at the National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum benefit.
Bisignano worked under Carpenter at Citigroup through the terrorist attacks in 2001. Their offices were at 388 Greenwich Street near the Twin Towers.
“My office was next to Mike’s, we’d look out the window when we came back and all we’d see is the smoke coming up,” Bisignano said.
Carpenter elaborated: “Frank essentially kept us in business,” he said. “All the connectivity was severed. He and his team made that disaster-recovery plan work so we functioned again.”
At the benefit, John Oliver as emcee helped honor Bisignano, a board member of the memorial and museum. Gerald Hassell accepted an award on behalf of BNY Mellon, where he was formerly CEO. And Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, CEO of CV Starr & Co. and former CEO of American International Group, was recognized with his wife Corinne. He is chairman and she a director of the Starr Foundation.
The event raised about $3 million and drew more than 1,000 guests to Cipriani Wall Street to support the memorial and museum, which remember and honor the 2,983 victims who died in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and Feb. 26, 1993.
One takeaway from the tragedies was that lessons carry forward. Bisignano offered one small example: His firm is distributing thousands of its Clover mobile-payment units to help small businesses operate in the Houston area after the destruction of Hurricane Harvey.
“For us, the ability to rebuild lower Manhattan was a great thing,” Bisignano said.
It was Alice Greenwald’s first benefit as president and CEO of the institution after serving as the museum’s director for more than 10 years, responsible for developing the exhibitions. Since opening in 2014, the museum has seen more than 10 million visitors.
“The world we live in is so confusing, and in many ways there’s such an atmosphere of fear, people are seeking to come to a place where there was so much mutual support,” Greenwald said. “That’s what 9/11 was really about. It wasn’t about distinctions, it wasn’t about difference, it was about everybody coming together. If you were in New York, you felt that. Everybody wanted the best for the city. It was wounded.”
Greenwald said the memorial and museum stand apart from current national conversations about immigrants and monuments. “What we’re doing transcends politics, transcends those issues and tensions,” she said. “In some respects, it’s the antidote to sectionalism.”
Cyndi Lauper performed “True Colors.” Mike Piazza, the beloved former New York Mets catcher, mingled. Also spotted: Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour, Howard Lutnick, CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, Ric Clark of Brookfield Asset Management, Leon Cooperman of Omega Advisors, Ruth Westheimer, Larry Silverstein and Bill Rudin.
The memorial and museum’s chairman is Michael R. Bloomberg, founder and CEO of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News.