Richard Fuld and Donna Lewis’s Awkward Phone Convo

By
Photo: Getty Images (Fuld), iStockphoto

Desperate to avoid steering his 25,000-person company into bankruptcy proceedings, Mr. Fuld dialed the Charlotte, North Carolina, home of Bank of America chairman Kenneth D. Lewis. His calls so far that weekend had gone unreturned. This time, Mr. Lewis's wife, Donna, again picked up and told the boss of Lehman Brothers: If Mr. Lewis wanted to call back, he would call back.

Mr. Fuld paused, then apologized for bothering her. "I am so sorry," he said.

Donna: "You know, boys don't like to be chased."
Richard: [Silence]
Donna: "You have to let them come to you."
Richard: [Silence]
Donna: "You'll get a reputation."
Richard: [Audible snuffling]
Donna: "Now, now dear, don't be too hard on yourself."
Richard: "I was just TRYING to be MYSELF."
Donna: "Now—"
Richard: "I can't help it if my voice is a little bit deeper and my gaze is dark and penetrating—" [hiccups]
Donna: "I'm sure—"
Richard: "I'm—" [hiccup]
Richard: "—not" [hiccup]
Richard: "—not" [hiccup] JAMIE DIMON."
Donna: "I'm sure you're a very nice boy—"
Richard: "They call me the Gorilla. Did you know that?"

Donna Lewis holds phone away from ear, grimaces as loud wailing breaks out. She resolves to keep her mouth shut and never try talking sense to somebody else's CEO again.

The Weekend That Wall Street Died [WSJ] (P.S. This story is epic and amazing.)