Business: Wriston: Man with the Needle

As bankers across the U.S. ponder a possibly troubled future, they inevitably look for leadership to the Manhattan-headquartered First National City Bank. By embarking upon one daring innovation after another, Citibank has indisputably established itself as the premier pacesetter of U.S. banking. The man who charts Citibank's bold course is a tall, sinewy iconoclast named Walter Bigelow Wriston. An uncommon blend of hard-driving executive and reflective, sometimes cynical intellectual, Chairman Wriston arguably exerts greater influence on American financial methods and mores than any other banker—and perhaps even more than all of them combined.

Wriston, 56, provokes both fierce loyalty and fierce hate....

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