Lehman - A 'very, very high intimidation factor'

Richard Fuld

Lawrence McDonald, the author of the excellent 'A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers' was in Toronto Monday, and The Financial Post caught up with him.

One of the questions thrown at McDonald was around how much of the blame for the demise of Lehman could be laid at the door of the likes of former CEO Richard Fuld and ex-President Joe Gregory.

Here's the response:

'Citigroup and Merrill Lynch were selling stock to raise capital at the same time we were buying our own stock back, so it was a complete poker move on Fuld's part. At Lehman you had a very concentrated control base - you had a risk committee, a commitments committee and a board and everyone was under sort of a 'spell' control. There was also a very, very high intimidation factor - so all those things combined and you have to put a lot of blame up on that 31st floor. I don't know if it was just Joe and Dick, it was Joe and Dick and all their 'yes' people'.

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