At the star-studded party for Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Too Big Too Fail, people spent most of their time whispering about which big financial names were there.
And when calling out the Jamie Dimons and the John Macks, Rodge Cohen’s name was near the top of everyone’s lists. Lawyers are generally back room people, and they certainly are rarely stars in a room that also includes super-producer Brian Grazer.
But Sullivan & Cromwell’s top man had his hands everywhere during the financial collapse — his firm represents or represented Bear Stearns, JPMorgan and AIG, among others. “Every time I looked up, it seemed like Rodge was in the room,” Hank Paulson, the former Treasury secretary, told The New York Times.
Rodge has always been “famous” in the legal world, but, with a long profile in Sunday’s Times (it takes up the top fold and a full inside page in the Metropolitan section), the world is learning all about the man with the very distinctive eyebrows.
There are, of course, the unsurprising things — his brain is “as big as Chicago,” you’d have to go “five other places” to get the level of banking knowledge you can get from Rodge — but the article provides plenty of little tidbits about the outside-the-office Cohen. The whole article, by Alan Feuer, is worth the read, but here are some tidbits:
- Everybody loves Rodge. No one would say a bad word about him, resulting in a pretty laudatory piece.
- Cohen only gets “stiff” when discussing the burden the bailouts put on regular taxpayers; he feels the banks are doing their part. “Almost all the burden is now being borne by the banking industry itself,” he said.
- He sets his alarm for 4:58 a.m. so he has two minutes to check “faxes” before the financial news begins. Yes, faxes! So old school. We assume he at least means faxes received via blackberry.
- He has a signed picture of Sheryl Crowe in his office.
- He only went to law school (Harvard) because it was “the closest thing to continuing a liberal arts education.”
- A Wells Fargo board member describes him as “5-2” and “100 pounds wet.”
- His father ran drugstores and when authorities told the elder Cohen he had to segregate his soda fountains, he refused and had them removed.
- He loves Hitchcock movies and asks himself trivia questions about them.
- He’s just regular people: a wife of 40 years, two kids he won’t comment about (but has No. 1 Dad mug), a rescued Boxer, Bacall, and drives a Subaru.
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