Friday, April 3, 2009

Leucadia: History Behind the Name

For the curious, here's the history behind where Joseph Steinberg and Ian Cumming got the name for Leucadia National:

We have been asked numerous times from whence the name Leucadia appeared. Thirty years ago in the summer, one of us, then age 37 was elected Chairman of Talcott National Corporation, the other, then age 34 became President shortly thereafter. Talcott’s existence goes back to 1854. We have documents showing that, during the Civil War, Talcott financed socks for the Union Army.

Talcott became listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1937 and evolved into a finance company with four businesses: consumer finance, commercial finance, factoring and real estate. Interest rates were very high and imprudent real estate investments left the Company with a negative net worth and lots of debt. That is when we jumped where others had feared to tread!

On May 27, 1980, we sold Talcott’s factoring business, James Talcott Factors, Inc., to Lloyds and Scottish Limited, a joint company of Lloyds Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland. James Talcott was a name long associated with factoring and the buyers wanted the name. After a spirited negotiation, we were paid more money but were left nameless.

We had suspected this might be the outcome and had been trying to register names acceptable to New York State. There have been lots of names filed in New York since the Indians sold Manhattan Island. Driving north on Route 5 from San Diego, California, we passed a big green sign “Leucadia Next Exit”, so decided to try Leucadia. It was immediately approved.

The word Leucadia is of Greek origin. Lefkadia (Leucadia) is one of the Ionian Islands and has a long and colorful history.
Taken from the Chairman's letter for 2007, so you'll never have to ask "Where did they get the name Leucadia from?" ever again.

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