The Devils Casino

The Devils Casino

Prologue

The most crucial talent required in business is the ability to understand people. You have to know what motivates them, what their strengths and weaknesses are. . . . If you’re a good judge of character, you will go very far. If not, it’s over.

What do I think when I look back on that period when I interviewed all those Lehman bankers in the 1980s? Honestly, I was relieved that I’d never had to see many of them ever again. They were, with some exceptions, greedy, selfish, a deeply unpleasant bunch of people.

The Beginning

You had this senior group of guys; there was Dick, obviously, but also the four guys in the carpool who started to run the businesses: Joe, Tommy, Stevie, and Chris. They ran Lehman. They were Lehman.

slot pulsa tells the story of the four close friends who re-created Lehman Brothers—setting out to prove that ambitious and savvy men with no financial training could take on the Ivy-League-educated white-shoe bankers on Wall Street

The five men who would forge the culture of the new Lehman Brothers, the post-Shearson Lehman, could not have been more -A-different from the polished Lehman partners of the 1970s. They were street fighters, traders who had no time for the condescension of snobbish bankers who wore fancy suits but made less money than they did.

The Captain

“Team,” “team,” “team” . . . I’ m not sure Chris Pettit uttered a sentence that didn’t mention the word.

A pickup basketball game delivered Chris Pettit from the Vietnam War. He had served nearly three of his required eight years of military service after graduating from West Point and hoped to eventually study medicine. He had received two bronze stars for valor while in Vietnam. He piloted a small motorboat for the Mobile Assistance Training Team, and his wife, Mary Anne Pettit, remembers his letters describing the fear he felt as he trolled up and down the river with the Vietcong watching from both banks. He believed he would die at any moment.

The “Take-Under”

The biggest and most fundamental change on Wall Street in my career has been the migration of private and public ownership to a place where private partnerships and publicly owned firms determine their own capital, and where, to quote Vikram Pandit, “the traders play with the house’s money.”

He had been attracted to Lehman because of Lew Glucksman’s lack of pretension, which he considered a blast of fresh air in the stuffy confines of Wall Street. “I thought, ‘ This is the first guy I like because he’s a no-nonsense trader,'” says Moncreiffe. “There were no airs and graces with Lew, but he was so intelligent–like an old Russian general. He was always there working in his shirtsleeves, his tie loosened and collar open. When I first had lunch with him, we talked about Marx, and I thought, ‘ This gentleman I can work for.'”

Slamex

On our corporate videos, we had music from Les Miserables. In Chris’s mind, we were fighting tyranny–just like the French Revolution.”

The fight led by Chris Pettit and Perry Moncreiffe might have been over, but the war in the offices of the newly fashioned Shearson Lehman Brothers was just beginning. It was inevitable, really–here was the shotgun marriage of two of Wall Street’s most culturally diverse houses, a combined firm that, as Helyar and Burroughs note in Barbarians at the Gate, “came to be marked by a peculiar blend of elegance and streetwise chutzpah: brass knuckles in a velvet glove.”C

The Phoenix Rises

Do you honestly think, given what you know about Dick Fuld, that he tried to save my job? Of course, he didn’t. He needed me gone.

In an attempt to reshape the merged company and expand his little unit into all of the fixed income, Pettit hired John Cecil and a team from McKinsey & Company, the consulting firm. Until 1990, the Lehman retail brokers knew they would always be involved in equity (stock) underwritings, of which they took a percentage for themselves, while the Shearson brokers depended on over-the-counter stocks, municipal bonds, and tax shelters (which paid less commission). There was much less upside in this, so the Shearson brokers never gelled with their Lehman counterparts.

Independence Day

I knew I would be retiring soon. I thought: “What the heck.” I will take it upon myself to fight one last battle for Lehman Brothers.

In early winter of 1994, Harvey Golub hosted a meeting in a conference room in lower Manhattan to negotiate the spin-off of Lehman with his hand-picked opponent, Dick Fuld. With Hill gone, Fuld knew he needed help getting favorable terms from Golub, who knew Fuld wanted desperately to be the next CEO of Lehman Brothers. If Fuld was too disagreeable in these negotiations, Golub had the power to fire him, thus ending Fuld’s campaign to get the top job. To help him, Fuld had brought John Cecil and Ron Gallatin.

The Stilett

The thing about Martha Dillman is she definitely wasn’t a femme fatale or some sort of Mata Hari who tried to reel Chris in; I always thought she was just very nice. I think that’s important to remember.

By 1995, Chris Pettit’s temper seemed to be on a constant simmer. Even though his troops were still loyal, it was becoming clear that he could no longer manage the firm day -today in the intimate way he used to run things. The business was growing too fast. To make matters worse, he’d been busy contacting oncologists around the country for his brother, Rusty, who was dying of brain cancer. He was on a short fuse.

The Ides of March

You think you would have liked Chris Pettit–but by the end, you would not have liked him. He became someone else.

By the start of 1996, both Lehman’s equities and investment banking units were still doing poorly compared to fixed income, which was a weakness that Lehman needed to fix. Their respective heads, Paul Williams and Mel Shaftel, were considered overmatched by almost everyone save Chris Pettit, who repeatedly defended them. He used to say to Tom Tucker, “Listen, managing bankers is like herding cats” (in other words, impossible) and “Mel is the only person I consider objective and reliable. I really can’t think of anyone better for the job.

Lastly Comment

Without the joy of seeing you each night, of hearing all about your adventures– imaginary and real–and without the mandatory snuggles and chat that you demand every evening, this book would not be worth anything. Nothing I ever write could come close to the greatest accomplishment of my life–which is producing you.

As we say to each other every night at home: “I love you to infinity.” This is for you, in the hope that when you read it, you will already be becoming men whose dreams are limitless but who never lose touch with reality.

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