Dick Fuld, the last chief executive of Lehman Brothers, has been bracing himself for the anniversary of the collapse of his 158-year-old investment bank. "I've been pummelled, I've been dumped on, and it's all going to happen again. They're looking for someone to dump on, and that's me."
Mr Fuld, 63, is indeed the face of the Lehman crash, an event which triggered a financial panic whose consequences are still being felt. And he has indeed been blamed for the failure, as the bank crumbled under the weight of years of sub-prime mortgage and commercial real estate bets.
But, tracked down by a Reuters reporter on the gravel driveway of one of his holiday homes, on the banks of a river in the Rocky Mountains, there were still flashes of the fieriness that marked his days at the helm of Lehman. "You know what, let them line up," he said. "I can handle it."
Wearing a black fleece and dark grey shorts – having recently descended from a morning hike in the mountains – he even joked about the bad press he'd been bombarded with. "You don't have a gun," he remarked to the reporter. "That's good."
The snatched conversation with Reuters is the first public comment from Mr Fuld since last October, when he appeared at a Congressional hearing into Lehman's failure. He was also spotted this weekend on the flight back from Idaho to New York reading David Wessel's book, In Fed We Trust, which examines, among other things, why the Federal Reserve did not rescue Lehman. He was seen vigorously underlining various passages.Reuse content