Sad to report
John Gutfreund, who was proclaimed the “King of Wall Street” in 1985 for harnessing the egos and fiefdoms of Salomon Brothers into one of the most profitable investment-banking firms, only to be deposed after a 1991 trading scandal, has died. He was 86.
As managing partner and later as chairman, Gutfreund (pronounced GOOD-friend) transformed Salomon from a traditional bond-trading firm into a pioneer in businesses such as mortgage-backed securities, under Lewis Ranieri, and computer-driven trading techniques, under John Meriwether. It also became the largest underwriter of municipal bonds, the department where Gutfreund got his start.
“Gutfreund seemed able to smell money being lost,” Michael Lewis wrote in “Liar’s Poker,” his 1989 account of working at Salomon. “He was the last person a nerve-racked trader wanted to see.”
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