Lehman Brothers CEO–Style Arbiter Richard Fuld thought that by orchestrating the demotion of his fashion-challenged colleagues Erin Callan and Joe Gregory, he could keep Lehman Brothers stock from dropping. “We have begun to take the necessary steps to restore the credibility of our great franchise and ensure that this quarter’s unacceptable performance is not repeated,” he said this morning, after the company posted losses of $2.8 million. Callan and Gregory took the fall for Fuld this time, but might Fuld want to watch his own bespoke-tailored back? Over at BreakingViews, Rob Cox and Antony Currie tentatively went there, asking who would take over were the 62-year-old ever to relinquish his iron grip on the firm. “It is easy to understand the sensitivity of questioning Fuld’s role,” they start out. “Devotion to the man within the bank borders on the religious.” Plus, they say, he would be hard to replace.
That’s partly because it’s not clear who from its ranks could fill Fuld’s wing tips. Much of the firm’s success derives from an almost cabal-like culture that, while successful at adopting and integrating recruits from elsewhere on Wall Street, is a product of Fuld’s management style.
We imagine Fuld reading this, rubbing his Prada loafers together and wondering if he should release a statement contradicting the allegation that he wears “wing tips.” As if.
Lehman top man [Breaking Views]