Slouching Towards Bankruptcy

The New York Times has published five Op-Ed pieces by former employees of Bear Sterns. To hear Thomas Flexner, the former vice chairman, tell it, the world has lost a “truly giving firm.” He describes the grief his colleagues felt at its demise in terms of Didion’s account of the year following her husband’s death:

Desperation finally gave way to exhaustion. We all realized a deal had to get done because it was clear that the government believed that the systemic risk associated with a bankruptcy filing was too great. The end was mercifully swift — death by guillotine — but it was death nonetheless.

Since then, many of my former partners have undergone a variation of Joan Didion’s “Year of Magical Thinking,” but I for one have definitely moved on. I only hope that when future generations think about Bear Stearns, if they do at all, they will also remember its philanthropy. Bear Stearns instilled a sense of social obligation in many of us. As far as I’m concerned, that’s its true legacy.

Read the rest…

Readers will be glad to learn that Flexner has landed on his feet; he is now the global head of real estate for Citigroup…

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