Postcards

How the power players do it - by Fortune senior editor at large Patricia Sellers

John Mack and Hank Paulson cast their movie

March 4, 2010: 11:51 AM ET

by Patricia Sellers

John Mack interviewed Hank Paulson at New York University's Stern School last evening. The Morgan Stanley (MS) chairman, who recently turned over the CEO reins, told me that he wanted to push some emotional buttons in the former U.S. Treasury Secretary and onetime CEO of Goldman Sachs (GS).

And he did. The two talked about the hairiest, scariest moments of the global financial crisis. Mack credited Paulson with keeping him "pumped up" throughout 2008. Paulson said that in the darkest moments, when Mack refused to sell Morgan Stanley in order to prevent a possible collapse, he feared that if that firm or another big one imploded after Lehman Brothers (BCS), the country would have fallen into "something equal to what we had in the Great Depression."

Their gig at NYU was part of Paulson's tour to promote On the Brink, his memoir of the crisis. He was on point and knew what to say most of the time, but Mack truly flustered the former Treasury boss when he asked his last question. In a movie version of Andrew Ross Sorkin's Too Big To Fail, Robert DeNiro will play Mack and Danny DeVito will play Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Mack said--yes, dreaming. But given such casting, he asked Paulson, who should portray you? Paulson stumbled, then suggested "a young Paul Newman." Reconsidering his options, he admitted, "I'm afraid you'd have to bring back Yul Brynner."

Here's video from last night.

Join the Conversation
Fortune's Most Powerful Women
Fortune's Most Powerful Women For the latest on the most influential women in business, philanthropy, government, and the arts, like us on Facebook.
Guest Posts
Fortune Most Powerful Women Fortune Most Powerful Women The rolodex that redefined power
Profile in The Washington Post
Sheryl Sandberg: Sheryl Sandberg: Don't leave before you leave
COO of Facebook
Wendy Clark Wendy Clark Exec learns firsthand how the homeless live
SVP of the Global Sparkling Brand Center at Coca-Cola
Video
Marissa Mayer's 3 biggest decisions as Yahoo CEO With company stock up over 100% since she began running the company 16 months ago, Mayer reflects on her choices to date. Watch
Chelsea Clinton on running for office: 'I don't know' The vice chairman of the Clinton Foundation talks about her diverse career path and growing up in the spotlight. Watch
About This Author
Pattie Sellers
Pattie Sellers
Senior Editor at Large, Fortune
Executive Director of MPW/Live Content, Time Inc.

Pattie Sellers has written more than 20 Fortune cover stories including "Marissa Mayer: Ready to Rumble at Yahoo," "Muhtar Kent's New Coke," "Oprah's Next Act", "The $100 Billion Woman" (Melinda Gates), and "Gone with the Wind" (Ted Turner). She co-founded Fortune Most Powerful Women and oversees the Fortune MPW Summit, the preeminent gathering of women leaders in business and beyond—and programs such as Fortune MPW Entrepreneurs and the Fortune-U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership. Pattie also develops Live Content across Time Inc. Her blog, Postcards, is about how power players lead and navigate their careers. Pattie won Time Inc.'s prestigious MVP award for her performance in 2012.

Email Pattie Sellers | Welcome to Postcards.
Follow Pattie | email newsletter
MPWomen go Global

The Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership brings rising-star women from countries around the world to the U.S. for three-week mentorships with participants of the annual Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit - among them Ursula Burns of Xerox, Laura Lang of Time Inc., Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, and Tory Burch.

Read more

Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
Powered by WordPress.com VIP.