The Rebirth of Jimmy Cayne?

Is it time for a revival of the reputation former Bear Stearns chief Jimmy Cayne? As the head of the first huge failure on Wall Street during our financial meltdown, Cayne came in for some rough treatment. But now that so many other banks and Wall Street firms are in dire straights, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate.

Charlie Gasparino makes the case for Cayne in his recent Daily Beast column.

Every Wall Street CEO, to one degree or another, gambled and lost—that’s why there are no more firms. Major investment banks, including the mighty Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, have been converted to more traditional banks, and humbled into accepting government bailout money.

And while Cayne may have been vilified by his colleagues, he was certainly no Madoff. In fact, Cayne looks a hell of a lot smarter than Vikram Pandit, the CEO of Citirgoup. When the credit crisis began, Citigroup turned Cayne down for a loan, but the company today has a stock price that last week briefly fell below $1, far lower than the $10 Cayne and company got for Bear.

“I never sold stock,” Cayne reminded me. “I believed in my own stuff. I played it straight.”

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