The anonymous wife of a banking CEO has written a column for Portfolio.com called Confessions of a Bailout CEO Wife.
You can guess what it’s about.
Up until this year she enjoyed a life of ostentatious parties, extravagant shopping and the best clothes and handbags money could buy. But in this new TARP world, when displays of wealth are frowned upon, she’s been forced to make a lifestyle change.
Hitting the perfect note isn’t always easy. For instance, for the past 15 years or so, I have thrown my husband a birthday party. We traditionally celebrate with about 30 friends, mostly New York pals we’ve known for decades. We’re not talking an end-of-an-era Stephen Schwarzman-type $10 million blowout. Ours is a pretty sedate affair.
This year, of course, entertaining our crowd at our usual multi-star Michelin hotspots would simply not do. Extravagant is out; conservative is in. But not hosting a birthday dinner would have spurred rumours that we were broke, not a welcome thought either. Juggling these conflicting impulses, I decided on a slimmed-down party. Choosing Versailles to host World War I peace negotiations could not have been more complicated than my attempt to select the perfect spot for our annual dinner.
Like the individuals profiled by NY Magazine on the rage of the fallen elites, the TARP wife is angry
It wasn’t long ago that America celebrated successful companies and the people who run them. My husband, CEO of one of the biggest TARP recipients, has received more than his share of accolades (in my opinion, well deserved). But because of a few tin-eared nitwits who failed to notice that their industry was under siege, the entire country now thinks that TARP bankers are greedy incompetents dedicated to ripping off taxpayers.
Now at this point, take a minute to vent….
Ok, now the interesting question is: Who is this TARP wife?
Jessica Pressler at NYMag thinks she’s got it figured out based on the following clues:
- The CEO and his wife’s net worth is tied up in stock down 95%.
- They live in New York.
- The husband is described as “perennial class president,” “high-school sports star,” “Ivy League MBA.”
- The husband has grey hair
Based on those criteria, Pressler concludes it must be Liz Peek and the husband is CIT (CIT) CEO Jeffrey Peek. That Liz Peek happens to be a former business columnist for the New York Sun bolsters this theory.
Anyone have any alternate guesses? This one seems pretty solid.