Aircraft carrier, leading investment firms, multinational bank…just another day at the office
Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
Former Managing Director and CFO Westdeutsche Landesbank
Former Lieutenant, US Navy
Greatest Achievement: Keeping his family as goal #1.
Advice for new college graduates: There is no substitute for perseverance.
What he looks for in young professionals: Smarts, team attitude, and no ego.
Aircraft Carrier, Leading Investment Firms, Multinational Bank…Just Another Day at the Office
The hallmark of Stephen Bier’s progressive thirty-year career in New York City’s financial services industry may well be his ability to create the right work environment. He prides himself as much on the loyalty of his staff as he does his enviable resume, and has taken a pragmatic view on his education and career from day one. Spend a few minutes with him today, and you will soon see that he guides his daily life with the same calm assurance that piloted an impressive career.
His retirement from WestDeutsche Landesbank (WestLB), an international merchant bank, in 2005 marked the culmination of a career in which he rose through the ranks with many of the recent icons in the industry. In the ten years that he guided the bank’s North American business as managing director and chief financial officer, Mr. Bier saw the company’s North American employment increase from 200 to 800, and its balance sheet rise from $8 million to over $75 billion. His tenure brought a former boutique operation, which had held a marginal place on Wall Street for 20 years, to a relatively prominent position in international corporate finance and trading.
After earning his M.B.A. and becoming a New York CPA in 1976, he joined Arthur Young & Company (today- Ernst & Young) as a senior staff accountant. In 1979, he transitioned to Salomon Brothers Inc. as a manager. His expertise in financial analysis soon paid enormous dividends for him and his firm. A decade later, he had risen to become senior vice president and controller, and the firm he helped shape had grown from a $50 million partnership to an $8.9 billion corporation.
Mr. Bier firmly maintains that the greatest opportunities can be found amidst the most daunting challenges. He was again proven correct when he joined Shearson, Lehman, Hutton, then a division of American Express, in 1989. Brought on as the chief accounting officer and senior vice president, he helped to guide the company’s 1994 “spin-off”stock offering, and transition it into the current New York icon, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. At the time of his 1995 departure to join WestDeutsche Landesbank, he oversaw over 250 employees, and his influence reached into the heart of this Wall Street giant.
Mr. Bier came to Adelphi in 1973, after completing his bachelor’s degree at the College of the Holy Cross, and finishing a two-year tour aboard the USS Wasp. How many people can accurately answer whether an active duty aircraft carrier or a multi-billion dollar investment firm creates greater managerial challenges?
The former Navy Lieutenant recognized that his undergraduate training in the classics left him looking for “marketable skills,” and he found a terrific match in the practical orientation of Adelphi’s business school. Always a realist, Mr. Bier quickly took advantage of the appeal and lucrative potential of accounting. As he often imparts to his own children, it is crucial for college students to “find something you have a passion for and at the same time can make a living with.”
Mr. Bier lives in Rockville Centre, and devotes his time to his wife and four children. Whether it means sharing professional advice with his older children, attending his son’s National Collegiate Athletic Association track meets, or applauding his youngest daughter’s vocal performances, his family continually brings him joy. Although his own children have outgrown youth sports, he has not retired from coaching local Catholic Youth Organization basketball. These days, the joy that accompanies victory and the pride he feels for the athletes he coaches are as great as ever.
Despite a busy schedule, he continues to impart his reserved wisdom as a business professor at Molloy College. At the recent commencement ceremony, his management and accounting students rewarded him with the 2006 Faculty Recognition Award. Mr. Bier’s resume shows that he feels comfortable when he is busy and challenged—why should retirement be any different?
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