company town

Being Filthy Rich Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

Fortune searches Davos for financiers to express contrition over the current credit crisis but comes up empty. The closest anyone has come, the magazine notes, is the chairman and chief executive of Moody’s Corp, who said, “We and others have to retool our processes … In hindsight, it’s clear to us that there were fundamental failures in key assumptions supporting our analytical models.” Quoth Fortune: “That’s probably a little too mealy-mouthed and much too late to console people who bought the mortgage-backed commercial paper to which Moody’s and its rival Standard & Poor’s gave a top-notch AAA rating — only to discover it was actually junk.” Snap! [Fortune]
• Just how big a fraud did Jérôme Kerviel, the rogue French trader, pull off? Before the bank caught him, he had taken out positions worth 50 billion euros. But some argue that he was responsible for only 1.5 billion euros in losses, and the bank’s board lost the other 3.4 billion euros unwinding his positions way too fast. Meanwhile, top executive Jean-Pierre Mustier told the Times: “I was speaking to a competitor, this competitor called me and said, ‘You are living what is a banker’s worst nightmare.’” Imagine how dramatic that must have sounded in French. [FT, NYT]
• Bonuses now in the bank, Goldman rewarded bankers for a record-setting year with a special surprise: layoffs! [Deal Journal/WSJ]

• Scientology has no plans to sue Gawker over the Tom Cruise video, which has brought the site more than 2 million pages views. If Nick Denton didn’t own the blog, he would now owe himself roughly $17,000 for that post alone. [NYT]
• Caitlin Flanagan bitch-slaps Katie Couric: “She spent her time gunning for a position that had been drained of its status and importance long before she got there. And what she has learned, the hard way, is that her climb to the top has been not a triumph but the act of someone who slept through a revolution.” [Atlantic via Portolio]
• The Swedish-owned Metro papers plan to let 27 people go from their bureaus in Boston, Philadelphia, and mostly in New York: Editor-in-chief Jon Auerbach and publisher Daniel Magnus got the ax last week. [NYP]

• Vote for Skadden’s hottest female associate! [Skadden Insider]
• Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her British counterpart, Lady Brenda Hale, reminisced about forcing old boys’ clubs to build women’s bathrooms. [Legal Times]
• A legal analysis of the death of Heath Ledger: Does the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus have the right to hire a new actor? [Above the Law]

• Target has decided that blogs are “nontraditional media outlets” not worthy of their highbrow image. Humph. Guess some bloggers won’t be buying their “nontraditional” Spanx knockoffs anytime soon again, either. [NYT]
• Old Navy wants to target twentysomethings by rotating their merchandise faster. Now we’ll get even more pastel T-shirts and khaki pants to choose from! Hurrah! [WWD]
• Red-carpet fans finally got their fill of gowns at last night’s SAG awards. Fashion standouts include cuties Ellen Page and Tina Fey in simple LBDs and Ellen Pompeo in a sparkly, strapless Nina Ricci. [AP]

Being Filthy Rich Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry