The Lewellen Legacy

Alumnus Brad Hintz on Bill Lewellen's wit and wisdom

After getting his BSIM from Krannert in 1971, Charles B. “Brad” Hintz went on to become the youngest corporate treasurer of a Fortune 500 company at age 35, a partner at Morgan Stanley and the CFO of Lehman Brothers. He tells a story about his senior-year finance class, taught by Bill Lewellen, which may have been his intellectual watershed. Lewellen gave Hintz an “F” on the midterm. Hintz, who’d always scored well on standardized tests, went to see Lewellen about the grade.

Lewellen looked up steely-eyed from his reading and said, “Mr. Hintz, I am indifferent to your success or failure — and you will soon learn that the rest of the world is equally uncaring.” Taking it as a challenge, Hintz went on to read “every journal article Prof. Lewellen ever wrote.” He aced the final, but much to his surprise, Lewellen averaged the two grades and awarded Hintz a “C” in the class.

Brad Hintz

Brad Hintz is a nationally ranked, sell-side equity research analyst covering the U.S. securities industry for Sanford C. Bernstein Co. and is frequently quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and The Economist.

After a tour in Vietnam, a master’s degree in systems management at the University of Southern California, a master’s degree in finance from the Wharton School, and stints at Standard Oil of California and the Northern Trust Co., Hintz became vice president and treasurer at Anderson Clayton Co. Upon this event, he wrote Lewellen a note reminding him of the course and the final grade, and thanked him for his start in finance. Lewellen wrote back, tongue firmly in cheek, “Yes, Mr. Hintz, I remember you and I am still indifferent to your success or failure.”

Hintz laughs at the memory. “In his classroom, Prof. Lewellen is an imperious and sardonic taskmaster. He gives every student a chance, but coddles no one. In my case, Bill changed my life by introducing me to corporate finance and shaking me out of a bad case of undergraduate complacency. He put me on a different trajectory.”

Hintz’s career then led him to a 13-year stay on Wall Street, first at Morgan Stanley Group, where he became a partner of the firm in charge of funding and capital structure, and then as CFO and managing director at Lehman Brothers in 1996. He took a buyout from Lehman Brothers and spent a year in semi-retirement. He is now a nationally ranked, sell-side equity research analyst for Sanford C. Bernstein Co. LLC in New York, covering the U.S. securities industry, and is frequently quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and The Economist.

And while he might not admit it, Bill Lewellen is indeed proud of his former student’s success.