Richard Parsons: Let Them Eat Pizza


"Have you ever noticed that in the NFL, or in the NBA, or in Major League Baseball, this guy was a failure at Cleveland, and then he becomes the coach in Houston?" Citigroup chairman Richard Parsons asked the Observer this week when asked why so many people who had a hand in the financial crisis are still gainfully employed. It was a rhetorical question, of course.

"These guys just move around from one team to another. Why is that? Because there isn't a very deep pool of skilled talent that exists. And so, too, for a lot of financial stuff: Not everybody who's walking up and down Fifth Avenue at noon is capable of running a derivatives book...It takes a certain amount of skill and knowledge to be in that business."

And as for the people whose skills and knowledge ran their businesses into the ground and had nearly devastating effects on the financial system as a whole, haters who say they should be banned from the industry, fired, fined, or otherwise suffer any consequences whatsoever need to just chill out.

"Every time we stumble and fall we think we're the first ones to do it," he said. "Like, 'Oh the world is going to melt down!' Well, it didn't melt down. In fact, you can still go down to the corner and get a pizza."

Where Are They Now? [NYO]