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Nearly a year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, a failure that triggered the global economic crisis, the much-lambasted chief executive Richard Fuld seemed burdened — but not crushed — by the pressure of the upcoming annivesary.
“You know what, the anniversary’s coming up,” he told Reuters. “I’ve been pummeled, I’ve been dumped on, and it’s all going to happen again. I can handle it. You know what, let them line up.”
Fuld, a nearly 40-year veteran of the company, took Lehman’s reins in 1994 at one of its darkest hours and rebuilt it into the fourth-largest U.S. investment bank, a Wall Street powerhouse whose massively profitable mortgage banking machine inspired rivals’ envy.
But after filing the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history, Fuld was vilified and humiliated before a Congressional panel last October and named in nearly 40 different legal actions.
Greedy bankers are routinely blamed for the credit crisis but one British-based poll of -- well, financiers -- spreads the blame more widely.
Gary Jenkins, head of fixed income research at Evolution Securities, wanted a more specific scapegoat and ran a poll of about 200 mostly fund managers and investors asking them to pick their credit crisis culprit. Former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was the clear winner, picking up 35
percent of the votes. He has been widely criticised over the past year for low interest rate policies that helped fuel the credit boom.
Lehman Brothers plans to sell a majority stake in its asset management unit and spin off commercial real estate holdings, hoping to restore investor confidence and ensure its survival after reporting a record quarterly loss of about $4 billion.
What do you think will happen to the storied investment bank? A successful recovery? A Bear Stearns-style government bailout? Is Lehman Brothers too big to fail? Give us your thoughts in comments.