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by Derek Loosvelt | December 02, 2008


If you live or work in Manhattan chances are you’ve seen the surly mug of Lehman CEO Dick “Leave Me And My Measly Millions Alone Already” Fuld on newsstands this week, because his infamous perma-frowning countenance is currently gracing the cover of the latest edition of New York magazine, meaning that inside the glossy pages there’s a too-long story about the intimidating trader turned chief executive with quotes about him by his closest (former) colleagues, as well as some dialogue and discussion about his famous firings, including that of the former Miss Wall Street (aka former Lehman CFO Erin Callan).

While providing some scintillating behind-the-scene scenes involving Fuld and other big bankers, along with some perspective-giving history about how the five-foot-eight-inch Fuld rose to the top of the firm now in Chapter 11, New York attempts to answer the question no one is really all that curious about anymore: Is Fuld a fiend or a fall guy?

Seems he’s already proven that, at the very least, he’s a little of both. You can’t help but scoff at his performance in front of Congress a couple of months ago, and can’t help but feel a bit sorry for the guy since he’s about the only chief executive whose monstrous mess the Feds didn’t try to clean up. (And I can't help but think, Five-foot-eight?)

Also this week, in other Lehman Brothers news, a Fuld colleague decided he had enough of securities and is moving into lawnmowers, washing machines and discount threads. That is, Scott Freidheim, the former chief administrative officer of Lehman decided to hang up his Lehman tote bag (as if he had a choice) and take an executive post at Sears.

The move is likely the first of several similar ones, as bankers start jump sinking ships to large retailers and product companies, some of which they previously consulted for (Freidheim worked with Sears on its merger with K-Mart). Congratulations are in order to Mr. Freidheim on his new post, and here’s to his helping to ensure that nothing as insanely inhumane as this happens under his admin watch at Sears.

In a rough if not exactly inhumane announcement, Bank of America indicated that it will bring down the axe on 10,000 investment bankers, most of whom work for that little shop BofA acquired with all the brokers called Merrill Lynch.

As for the brokers, looks like their training is going to be all but kaput, as big securities firms say, Sorry new guys, you’re too expensive to train anymore. We’re gonna keep on sweating it out with the old guard.

Meanwhile, proving that there is indeed some serious financial problems going on in the world even if you don't believe in the R-word, Goldman Sachs braces for a couple billion in losses, as the holding company formerly known as an investment bank is set to report its first quarterly loss since going public in 1999. The losses are expected to be five times greater than analysts had previously predicted, meaning that job cuts will likely be, oh, about five times higher than previously predicted as well.

Yes, I could use some good news, too. So here goes:

After a horrible dive yesterday, with a near belly-flop at the end of the trading day, both the S&P 500 and Dow rebounded more than nicely today, and even finished the day on a smooth upswing (the S&P jumped more than 3 percent in the last hour-and-a-half of trading).


Filed Under: Finance

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