Bess Levin

Posts by Bess Levin

In Camp A you have investors who are horrified by new chief executive officer Laurent Potdevin’s appearance. They want him to go into hiding and not come out until he’s gotten his body fat down to 5%. Currently, the thought of him in a pair of Wunder Unders literally makes them shudder.

…some investors who attended the meeting said they were surprised to see that Potdevin, in his first major public appearance since he took the helm in January, didn’t exactly look the part of a fitness mogul. “He was kind of … dumpy,” one shareholder said, noting that Potdevin wore baggy clothes with an untucked shirt that failed to hide a bulging stomach. “If he’s a competent leader, he’s a competent leader,” another investor said. “But you’ve got to ask whether this guy is really in touch with the mind-set of his core customer in the athletic space.”

Then you have those in Camp B, who believe that it’s actually a good thing that come 2020, or whenever Raj Rajaratnam gets out of jail, the hedge fund manager won’t be calling up Potdevin to model a pair of spandex pants on the conference room of his new hedge fund. Read more »

  • 22 Apr 2014 at 3:48 PM

Bill Ackman Doing Okay For Himself This Year

Every Ackman investment appears to have made money this year, including Beam, the Herbalife short and Platform Specialty Products Corp. Nutritional supplement maker Herbalife, for example, has been hit by reports of several government investigations into the company, which has helped push the stock down about 26 percent so far in 2014. The Pershing Square International fund is up 11.1 percent net of fees in the first quarter alone, according to a report by the HSBC Alternative Investment Group. [NetNet]

  • 22 Apr 2014 at 3:10 PM

Goldman Sachs Exec Embroiled In Horse Shit Suit

Michael Richman is the chief compliance officer at Goldman Sachs. There, he monitors trading activity, seeks to prevent conflicts of interest, and generally ensures that employees of the bank are following the rules, regulations, and laws that dictate what they can and cannot do on the job. While other compliance officers are happy to leave their work at the office, Richman’s passion for forcing people to comply follows him right out of 200 West Street, all the way up to Bedford, N.Y. later that night. There, it’s his neighbors that do the complying.

The threat of lawsuits from litigious neighbors has prevented a movie starring Glenn Close, Kathy Bates and Danny Glover from filming in the posh town of Bedford. Close, who lives nearby, wanted the happy ending of “The Great Gilly Hopkins” (based on the children’s novel by Katherine Paterson) to be shot at the home of Suzanne and Stefano Galli. But the Gallis have been embroiled for years in a variety of lawsuits brought by their next-door neighbors Ruth Toporoff and husband Michael Richman, the chief of compliance officer at Goldman Sachs. “The production company scouted my house, had multiple meetings and signed a contract, but the town denied the permit,” Suzanne Galli told me. The local Bedford-Pound Ridge Record Review newspaper said the town council acted “due to fear of repercussions . . . the potential for litigation.” The movie scene will now be filmed elsewhere.

Maybe a lesser compliance officer would be swayed by the star power of Close, Bates, and (especially) Glover, but this one is most certainly not. Know what else Richaman’s not gonna stand for? The smell of equine excrement wafting onto his property from his neighbors’ barn. How does he know that the smell in question is not actually coming from his own horses? Obviously Richman and his wife own a special breed of horse that simply do not stink. Read more »

  • 22 Apr 2014 at 2:05 PM

Citigroup Shareholders Throw Senior Executives A Bone

After the embarrassment of failing the Fed’s stress test, everyone got together and decided to approve top execs’ pay packages, which is not something they always do. Chin up, fellas. Read more »

No longer will any old Joe Shmo be allowed in the club. Read more »

DoubleLine Capital, the bond management firm run by Jeffrey Gundlach, said on Monday it had hired an executive from rival Pimco to run a new unit focused on developing new investment products and lines of business, particularly outside the United States. DoubleLine named Ignacio Sosa, previously Pimco’s executive vice president for global bond product management, director of its newly formed Product Solutions Group. He starts on May 12 and will report to Gundlach. Sosa’s departure comes after a management shakeup and months of investor outflows at Newport Beach, California-based Pimco. [Reuters, related]

Which seems reasonable? Read more »

Rajat Gupta, the former Goldman Sachs Group director convicted in a 2012 insider trading scheme tied to the Galleon Group LLC hedge fund, agreed to surrender to prison authorities on June 17 to begin a two-year sentence, a federal judge in Manhattan said. Gupta, 65, lost a bid for a new trial last month, when a three-judge appeals panel upheld his conviction. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said in an order made public today that Gupta and prosecutors consented to the surrender date. [Bloomberg]