It was quite a scene in front of Lehman Brothers’ headquarters at 50th Street and 7th Avenue this afternoon. Seventh Avenue is lined with TV news vans and crews, some of whom have spilled onto 50th Street, and there’s a cluster of reporters, camera men and headhunters waiting outside of the firm’s main entrance.
One headhunter, Laura Caputo of Spire Search Partners, said she and her two colleagues had talked to about 20 departing Lehman-ites. One told her he left Goldman Sachs five years ago, and today he was re-thinking his decision.
Fortunately, in addition to recruiter interest in ex-Lehman employees, it seems other firms are interested in picking through the wreckage at Lehman. Spire’s clients are particularly interested in Lehman’s bankers.
Many Lehman’s employees are sick of the media outside of the firm–refusing to talk to reporters and even claiming not to work for the firm despite carrying Lehman Brothers messenger and tote bags. Some chose to sneak out of the loading dock on 50th or 49th Streets to avoid the circus, smoke a cigarette, or puff on a cigar.
We spoke to a few employees, including one woman who just started working for the firm in May 2007. She repeated the past few days’ refrain that Lehman’s employees didn’t know what was going to happen next. When we asked her why she was packing up her things, she said, “It doesn’t look good.”
Meanwhile, Lehman heightened security today, barricading off all but the main entrance to the firm and hiring extra guards. Outside of the firm, some business owners were feeling resilient, such as the woman who works at the newsstand at 50th and 7th who said she’d been there since before Lehman’s new headquarters opened.
Others, like Bobby Van’s Steakhouse, across 50th Street, are worried about losing some of their biggest clients. But for now, business is booming: about 30 people were at the bar Sunday night and by 4 p.m. Monday, there were already 10 or so at the bar.
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