Most of its employees never made it out and the bond trading powerhouse was in danger of closing.
CBS 2’s Alexis Christoforous spoke with Cantor’s CEO Howard Lutnick as he looks back at that day ten years later.
The trading floor at Cantor Fitzgerald has made a remarkable comeback from September 11th.
There were 658 Cantor employees who died on 9/11, trapped above the fire in the north tower at the World Trade Center.
Link: Remembering 9/11
Lutnick survived because he was taking his son to kindergarten, but he lost his brother Gary and his best friend and became the public face of Cantor’s tragedy.
“My brother’s on the 103rd floor. There is no 103rd floor,” he said back in 2001.
Today, Lutnick is back on his feet, composed and driven. He has rebuilt Cantor and like other Wall Street firms that lost employees, the company has helped victims’ families, giving away $180 million.
“The most important thing in my life was how big a number I could give to them,” said Lutnick. “How much could I be a part of their lives and make a difference.”
Cantor relocated to midtown Manhattan, rebuilding its headquarters on the lower floors.
The company is now twice as profitable as it was a decade ago and the New York offices have grown from just 150 people after the attacks to nearly 1,500. Some are children of Cantor employees who were killed in the attacks.
“The fact that they’d be willing to work for the firm where their dad was killed, it is the greatest honor we could have and it is my pleasure,” he said.
Lutnick remains a fierce businessman, but at certain moments, he struggles.
He describes himself as heart-broken, but says he finds comfort in family, both his own and the extended family at Cantor Fitzgerald.
Each September 11th, Cantor donates an entire day’s revenues to charity. Last year, that came to $11 million.
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