Both the WSJ and NYT highlight the plight of Dick Fuld, Lehman’s CEO, as he presides over the firm’s implosion. We’ve been consistently critical of Dick’s handling of the crisis: he was the one who oversaw the building of that dreadful balance sheet, and he has always seemed a step or two behind reality of the downturn. We think Dick should and will soon pay the price with his job.
But at the same time it is hard not to feel bad for the man.
If Dick has made one consistent mistake over the past year, it has been an inability to step back and look at the firm and the market environment with fresh eyes–and dispassionately do what needs to be done. One reason Dick hasn’t been able to do this, we think, is that he remains deeply loyal to and passionate about the firm. And even as the current crisis threatens to destroy everything that he and his team have built, it’s hard not to admire a CEO who feels that way. Most companies should be so lucky.
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