Impact of 9/11 on Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and American Express

Lehman Brothers

Where they were on 9/11: 6,000 workers in 3 World Financial Center; 800 worked in 1 World Trade Center, with most of Lehman’s IT operations. One employee was killed.

Where they went: Employees and trading floors were squeezed into offices at 101 Hudson St. in Jersey City, N.J. Lehman bought another nearby Jersey City building, and in Manhattan rented office space on Park Avenue and at a Sheraton Hotel. Other employees worked from home.

Where they are now: Employees began moving into new headquarters near Times Square in January.

Hard numbers: Lehman’s net income fell 67 percent in the fourth quarter of 2001, and the company took a charge of $127 million for costs associated with 9/11. For the first half of 2002, net income was $594 million, compared with $817 million the previous year.

Hard lessons: Centrally locating systems and personnel can put you out of business; phone lines should not terminate in one location; and people need to gain experience in working remotely.

Merrill Lynch

Where they were on 9/11: 5,700 workers in 4 World Financial Center; 2,000 worked at 2 World Financial Center; 1,300 workers at nearby locations. Three workers were killed.

Where they went: Most employees worked in existing space in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, and others worked at home.

Where they are now: 5,000 employees had moved back into headquarters in December; 1,500 employees started moving back into 2 World Financial Center in February.

Hard numbers: Cited damages of $43 million due to the attacks. For the first half of 2002, net income was $1.3 billion compared with $1.4 billion in 2001. Merrill has laid off more than 10,000 workers after Sept. 11.

Hard lessons: Voice over IP makes you less dependent on public infrastructure, and wireless provides flexibility in reconfiguring office space; contracts with carriers should stipulate the actual path a signal is taking to ensure diversity.

American Express

Where they were on 9/11: 3,500 workers in 3 World Financial Center; 250 worked at 7 World Trade Center; 750 worked at 40 Wall St., and 100 others worked at other nearby locations. Eleven employees were killed.

Where they went: Headquarters temporarily moved to Jersey City, N.J. Other employees moved to seven locations in midtown Manhattan, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Where they are now: Employees started moving back to headquarters in May 2002.

Hard numbers: American Express cited a $98 million pretax loss from 9/11. Net income for the first half of 2002 was $1.3 billion, compared with $716 million in 2001. The company has eliminated 15 percent of its 88,550-person workforce since January 2001.

Hard lessons: Business continuity planning should be geographically based, not building-based; and if you don’t have a specific need for technology assets to be located in headquarters, move them out.

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