Former Lehman Brothers banking CEO Richard Fuld has kept a relatively low profile since the banking crisis of 2008. Fuld was known by his peers as ‘Gorilla’ during his Wall Street hey day, and he earned this moniker through his determined quest to turn Lehman into a bank that could rival the power of Goldman Sachs. As we approach the fifth anniversary of the Lehman Brother’s crash, lets take a look at Fuld’s prior CV and see what he is up to these days.
A potted biography of Dick Fuld
1969 – Fuld joins the year senior partner Richard Lehman dies and begins his career as a commercial paper trader.
1994 – Fuld becomes chief executive officer of the bank. A brief takeover by American Express, Lehman Brothers is once again independent.
1994-2008 – Fuld becomes the longest serving CEO in Wall Street History during his 14-year tenure. Following the crash, he stayed around to assist with the cleanup that his leader had helped to create, working with Alvarez and Marsal.
2009 – Fuld goes on to found Matrix Advisors, a consulting firm specialising in mergers.
2010 – Fuld was registered as working with Legend Securities.
Lehman Brothers bank was – alongside other similar institutions – considered by its top bosses, its mid level employees and wider the financial community to be an unbreakable institution. The type of debt that Lehman Brothers faulted on was tied into the mortgage market – the so-called ‘mortgage bubble’ of the past ten years.
This self-confidence made it all the more shocking on the day in early 2008 when Lehman Brothers announced its bankruptcy and stunned employees were asked to leave the premises with their belongings in boxes. There was also an incident in which a Lehman Brothers employee physically attacked Fuld in the company gym following the announcement of the bank’s collapse.
Even so, it is interesting that Fuld has not been at the helm of any major financial successes since the disaster of 2008. Perhaps his legal troubles are at the basis of his relative inactivity (he has been embroiled in more than 50 lawsuits, some to do with his reputedly unscrupulous property declarations, some brought by municipalities or NGOs who lost money in the crash.) Even though Lehman held a legal pot to fund such crisis, it’s reported that this money has run out and that Fuld is being forced to pay his own legal costs.
His wife is a former board member of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and he is sometimes seen at parties with her, but prefers to keep a low profile in New York society. It is reported that his wife placed a portion of her private art collection on the market at Christie’s to help pay for Fuld’s legal costs and raised in the region of about $16 million. He was recently portrayed by the actor James Woods in the movie Too Big to Fail, and his early career is also documented in a biography of the 1980s Lehman Brothers in a book by Ken Auletta.