What a difference nine years makes.
Erin Callan was named CFO of Lehman Brothers in late 2007, just months before the onslaught of the global financial crisis. She was a blazing star of the banking world, briefly holding the coveted title of highest-ranking woman on Wall Street. In a 2010 feature, Fortune‘s Pattie Sellers described Callan as “a bright, glamorous figure, the likes of which Wall Street had never seen in a finance chief.”
Then the dominoes started to fall. Callan was pushed out in June of 2008. And following a short, ill-fated stint at Credit Suisse, she quit and vanished from public life.
Erin Callan, photographed at Credit Suisse in September 2008 during her last months on Wall Street.Photograph by Wesley Mann for Fortune
Her sudden and mysterious disappearance from the business world makes her candid new memoir, Full Circle: A memoir of leaning in too far and the journey back, all the more shocking, as Sellers details in her review of the book, which was released today. Also surprising: Callan’s physical transformation from Wall Street chic to Florida mom.
Gone are the power bob and fashion-forward outfits—which Tina Sussman, once Callan’s personal shopper, described to the Wall Street Journal as “classic and elegant.” In her new memoir, Callan writes about former Lehman president Joe Gregory chiding her for wearing clothes that were “too provocative” and distracting when she was CFO and only woman on Lehman’s 13-person Executive Committee. “That’s what happens, I guess, when you have all men around the table for so long,” Callan writes.
Her new casual, relaxed appearance is stunning to those who knew Callan back then. And while commenting on a woman’s looks is always dicey business, Callan’s metamorphosis deserves a mention. Now married to a former New York City firefighter who had been her classmate in high school, Callan herself spotlights her new look on the cover of her book. The image of Callan, now 50, joyously holding her one-year-old daughter, Maggie, suggests a new and very different kind of power.