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A CEO pivots to the football field

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills,Profiles in Leadership

As a top executive at Merrill Lynch and TD Ameritrade, Joe Moglia earned the moniker of “coach.” Employees viewed him as a supportive yet demanding boss who prodded them to excel.

The prodding worked. Moglia, TD Ameritrade’s CEO from 2001 to 2008, grew the brokerage from $24 billion in assets to a $300 billion powerhouse.

With the help of his high-spirited team, he made wise decisions such as steering clear of the 2008 financial crisis. His firm recorded a profit of $800 million while some other financial services companies collapsed.

But Moglia gravitated to a career in finance only after abandoning a rewarding stint as a football coach. After graduating college, he became a high school coach and then Dartmouth’s defensive coordinator before being offered a University of Miami coaching job. But he turned it down because he was newly divorced with four kids and needed to earn more money.

At 34, he switched careers and joined Merrill Lynch. After 17 years of promotions at Merrill and eight years as TD Ameritrade’s CEO, Moglia quit the corporate world to pursue a college football coaching position. More than three years later, Coastal Carolina hired him as head coach.

Other colleges rejected Moglia, figuring that he’d been out of football for almost 30 years and that his leadership wouldn’t carry over from the boardroom to the playing field. They were wrong. In Moglia’s first three years at Coastal Carolina, the team finished atop its division.

— Adapted from “Former TD Ameritrade CEO Joe Moglia Is Finding Big Success On The Football Field,” Monte Burke, www.forbes.com.

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