Muriel F. Siebert, in 1977
08/26/2013 at 06:00 AM EDT
Muriel "Mickie" Siebert, the first woman to become a member of the New York Stock Exchange, has died of complications of cancer. She was 80.
Siebert died Saturday at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Her death was confirmed by Jane Macon, a director of Siebert Financial and a partner at the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, who called Siebert "a fabulous woman, a trailblazer and a pioneer" who set a high standard for those who entered the financial world after her.
Siebert was founder and president of the brokerage firm that bears her name, Muriel Siebert & Co., Inc. The company went public in 1996 as Siebert Financial Corp.
Born in Cleveland, Siebert moved to New York in 1954 at age 22 and started her career as a trainee in research at Bache & Co., earning $65 a week. She went on to become an industry specialist in airlines and aerospace and later became a partner at brokerages that included Brimberg & Co.
She bought a seat on the New York Stock Exchange in December 1967 after months of struggling with the male-dominated business world that initially resisted her efforts to join. She established her investment firm the same year and transformed it into a discount brokerage house in 1975.
Siebert took a leave of absence from the company in 1977 when Gov. Hugh Carey appointed her the first woman superintendent of banking for the State of New York. She served five years.
In 1982, Siebert resigned from the job to run for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat of Daniel Patrick Moynihan. She came in second to a state lawmaker, Florence Sullivan, who went on to lose to Moynihan in the November election. Siebert then returned to running her company.
To celebrate 30 years as a member of the exchange, Siebert was invited to ring the closing bell on the NYSE. The ceremony was held on Jan. 5, 1998.
The next year, while president of the New York Women's Agenda
– a coalition of more than 100 women's organizations – Siebert developed a personal finance program to improve the financial literacy of young people.
The program became part of the New York City high schools economics curriculum for seniors. Siebert worked to expand the program nationally.
An advocate for women in business, she served on several organizations including the Council on Foreign Relations
, the International Women's Forum
, Deloitte & Touche's Council for the Advancement and Retention of Women, and the New York Women's Forum
, of which she was a founder and president.
"She always pushed the doors open and kept them open for other people to follow," Macon said.
Siebert, who lived in New York City, never married and had no children.