The Only CEO Who Freaked Out When The Market Crashed: Newbie James Gorman

Anyone watching CNBC when the market crashed last Thursday couldn’t really help flipping out. It just kept crashing!

The Observer’s Max Abelson has a great story on how Wall Street’s elite reacated. Basically, they reacted the same way as everyone else with a big fat “What?!”

But some asked louder than others. James Gorman, who recently took over as CEO of Morgan Stanley, was alone in his office when the market started tanking. Immediately, he called Suzanne Charnas, Morgan Stanley’s head of investor relations.

Oh, God, what’s happening?” they asked. Gorman thought there had to be some mistake.

Others just went on with business as usual, not dropping everything but waiting until they had a spare moment to hold meetings and figure out what was going on. Like Ken Griffin, whose response was totally chill. “Why did it fall on Wednesday? Why did it fall on Friday?” Griffin told Max Abelson.

“People make up stories after the fact…I think that it’s much easier to try and blame faceless computers.”

An anonymous AIG exec who had back-to-back meetings on Thursday told Abelson, “I was in a cocoon all day… Sometimes it’s good to be in cocoon.”

Vikram Pandit and Steve Schwarzman were also too busy with meetings to be bothered until the meetings were finished.

By then, the market had probably repaired itself. Which goes to show – sometimes, it’s best to step away from the computer.

Especially because it can kill you. See the 20 ways your Wall Street job is killing you –>

Find out what other execs were doing the day the market crashed.

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