Executives: One Man's Show

"I haven't met an employee for 20 years," said Los Angeles Financier Howard Ahnflanson not long ago. "My secret weapon is money." Within that context, Ahmanson was a total success. At the time of his death after a heart attack last week in the small Belgian town of Marche-en-Famenne during a European holiday, Ahmansjon, 61, was the sole ruler of a savings-and-loan, banking and insurance combine that had earned him a personal fortune worth at least $300 million.

Key to Ahmanson's financial colossus was his Beverly Hills-based Home Savings & Loaji Association, which, with assets of $2.5 billion, is nearly double...

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