Weekend Wars: Despot vs. Doggie

Despotism. A form of government in which power is concentrated in the hands of an individual or a small group.

Doggie. Pet name for you pet dog, who is apparently so cute for drinking out of the toilet and humping the couch, he needs to be coddled further.

These two seemingly unrelated words popped into my head while discussing Dick Fuld this past weekend. It dawned on me that Fuld was more than a failed Chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers, he was the despot of a failed empire. This also got me thinking of rulers who laid down their swords and accepted the lives of vassals.

Perhaps I've got Hosni and Saddam in the back of my brain, but here are the two guys at the front of my mind right now...

The Dastardly Despot



Looking back a mere five years, Fuld was a billionaire ranked #374 on the wealthiest Americans list.

Today, he is a reviled villain living a life of seclusion and solitude. His existence has been reduced to hiding from creditors, signing over property to his wife, lying to Congress and catching flashbacks to his beat down in the gym.

He is certainly a man who's life I would not want. Not for all the money in the world...

The Darling Doggie



Vikram Pandit on the other hand, has been waiting to exhale longer than Angela Bassett. Since the start of the Credit Crunch and the de facto nationalization of Citi. Vikram Pandit has been Washington's top Wall Street lap dog. Gleefully praising financial reform, rolling over, licking face and playing dead at his master's request...

All for one solid doggie biscuit a year.

Well, times have changed. With the collective idiocracy that is modern America forgetting everything prior to ten minutes ago, Pandit's incompetence and irresponsibility have become reason for a tidy little raise.

Looks like he can buy himself all the Snausages on the planet again.

For me, looking back over the last couple of years and especially these two reminds me of why I left the rat race. You truly could not pay me any amount of money to run an investment bank these days...or just about any large corporation for that matter.

I still cannot believe that anyone is that desperate for money to put up with the level of abuse these guys have endured, but then again...people suffer through more for less every day.

Still...

I have to ask you guys if you would trade places with either of these guys?

I know that money is a powerful motivator and that absolute power corrupts absolutely...

Does that mean some of you would actually want to be Dickie or Vickie?

I really can't imagine anyone would, in their own right each one seems like the last man

I'd ever trade with...but if you don't agree I am curious to hear your reasons.

Comments (12)

Feb 20, 2011

Well, I think your analysis of Fuld as a Depot is wrong, since that word has such a negative connotation. When his reforms made Lehman a ton of money no one complained. But when they got stuck with a buch of securtizations on their books and couldn't sell them in time to offset their rapid depreciation in price he's evil. While Fuld is reviled, I don't think its as deserved as others think. It takes a luminary to be able to say when you're making the most money on the Street, "Hey let's reduce our profit since no one sees any problems in the future with what we're doing". People would think he's an idiot. Proven right in the long run, but it takes someone really smart to do it, and let's be honest, CEOs try to maximize shareholder value, and if there is no reason to believe that what they were doing was wrong, they are doing the opposite of what they should. Why is he more reviled than Stan O'Neal- who caused the collapse of Merril Lynch or Jimmy Cayne who caused Bear Stearn's collapse? Because he didn't sell when he saw a light at the end of the tunnel, that wasn't true?

Reality hits you hard, bro...

Feb 20, 2011

Yah but Fuld was/is an asshole. He couldn't even take the elevator with his prole-ish employees.

I would not trade lives with either of these guys, but not for any of the above listed reasons. At the end of the day, these guys are puppets, bowing down to regulators, sucking up to shareholders, and kissing the ass of their clients. They don't pull strings; they have their strings pulled.

Feb 20, 2011

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed.......if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

It is easy to criticize these men after the fact, but in the end very few people saw this disaster coming. They ran firms that were/are in the business of risk taking. I am sure that Fuld is an asshole, as are many who have managed to achieve the level of success he was able to. I am sure that had he seen this coming, he would have done everything in his power to avert the damage to his firm - sure he may have cashed out - most anyone would have when they saw the walls crumbling around them.

Would you have a different opinion of the man had he reinvested in LEH or kept all his net-worth in the company until the stock went to 0? Or would you be calling him a fool?

Feb 20, 2011
JBGH:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed.......if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

It is easy to criticize these men after the fact, but in the end very few people saw this disaster coming. They ran firms that were/are in the business of risk taking. I am sure that Fuld is an asshole, as are many who have managed to achieve the level of success he was able to. I am sure that had he seen this coming, he would have done everything in his power to avert the damage to his firm - sure he may have cashed out - most anyone would have when they saw the walls crumbling around them.

Would you have a different opinion of the man had he reinvested in LEH or kept all his net-worth in the company until the stock went to 0? Or would you be calling him a fool?

Wise words here. As many of you said, when he was on top of his world, no body criticized him, but, when things fell apart, everyone turned their back on him and forgot about his "successful" business decisions. Some of the kids who are on these boards have an inflated sense of themselves as they are getting ready to "conquer" Wall Street.

I hope that they learn from the fallen ones and understand that they will be alone when they make mistakes. If you must, hire an assistant just to whisper in your ears that "you are only human" you will start getting praise for your accomplishments.The people that will put you on a pedestal, are the same ones that will bring you down when you stop making it rain on the street.

I wouldn't want to walk in the shoes of Fuld, or any one who had to sit in the Congress' doggy show.

Below is a snapshot of Fuld's "successful" experience at Lehman when he was ranked 374 richest American.

As you can see, he rose very fast to the executive ranks.

"
Gruff chief executive of investment bank Lehman Brothers. New York native studied aeronautical engineering before switching to international business in senior year at University of Colorado. First job: trading commercial paper for Lehman 1969. Became partner 1978 a day before getting married; anointed CEO 1993. Helped restore company following spinoff from Amex: recruited top bankers and brokers, gave stock options to most employees, created culture of teamwork. Public offering 1994; shares up close to 17-fold since. Last year boasted $3.3 billion in profits, up 90% since 2003. Biggest deal this year: NYSE Group's $1.8 billion stock offering. "

Oui!oui!oui! Money Gives Power, Power Buys Positions

Feb 21, 2011
JBGH:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed.......if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

Inspiring sh*t, something straight out of Gladiator, thank you for sharing. I think it goes back to the whole 'have it all and lose it vs. never having had it at all'

Feb 20, 2011
baby.faced.banker:
JBGH:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed.......if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

Inspiring sh*t, something straight out of Gladiator, thank you for sharing. I think it goes back to the whole 'have it all and lose it vs. never having had it at all'

I agree with you, very inspiring. It's not from a Gladiator. It's from Theodore Roosevelt's speech at La Sorbonne in 1910

Oui!oui!oui! Money Gives Power, Power Buys Positions

Feb 20, 2011

I think many people would disagree with you regarding vik's incompetence, most shit was buried during prior executives' rule.

Feb 20, 2011

Heavy hangs the head that wears the crown.

unfortunately for fuld, the hair broke

Feb 20, 2011

I would not want to trade places with either, mainly because that's not my ambition. And I agree with JBGH in the sense that it's easy to criticize after the fact. Also, look at Blankfein, Goldman did see this coming and acted accordingly. They aren't exactly viewed in a great light these days either. Granted there's a bit of grudging respect given to them on the street, but they're still pretty much public enemy #1 to the rest of America.

Feb 20, 2011

I would want to be these guys for one reason...they are rich. But I would much rather be David Tepper, Paul tudor Jones, or any other self-made millionaire/billionaire that doesn't face public scrutiny. I would always love to be able to say to Obama (or politicians of the like) "Fuck You, you can't do shit to me". Private companies>Public unless you're looking for an exit opp.

Reality hits you hard, bro...

Feb 21, 2011

I prefer the dougie to a doggie

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Feb 21, 2011
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