Bess Levin

Posts by Bess Levin

For the first 43 years of his career, Pimco founder Bill Gross thought it was acceptable to issue demerits to people who looked him in the eye or spoke to him. So in February, when he was more or less forced to figure out how, at the age of 70, to act like a pleasant person, or face even more high level departures by people who suffer from debilitating conditions that cause them to make eye contact, it was obvious he had a rough road ahead of him.

Not wanting to read more articles about how he made someone write a $10,000 check for sitting, or slashed another’s bonus for failing to include a ‘p.37′ on a powerpoint presentation, Gross worked hard at the task at hand, and meaningful progress was made. Most notably, investment committee meetings “now take place in a room with a round table, rather than a rectangular one as in the past,” which according to Gross, has made people more comfortable and willing to speak (period, and also to express a difference of opinion with the boss).

But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and if you thought there wouldn’t be setbacks on the road from being a guy who “humiliate[s] people for stumbles” and instills such fear in them that they “recall nights [they were] so scared of being fired for mistakes [they] could not sleep” to a guy people want to be around, you thought wrong. Read more »

A year ago this August, we noted that a brow-beaten Falcone, on a time out from the securities industry and putting out fires daily with regard to his passion project, LightSquared, was just going to start suing everyone. Which he kind of has! In the last 11 months alone, the hedge fund manager has filed lawsuits against: Read more »

Such as: Read more »

“Bon appétit,” says Pandit, as he slices into a beetroot and continues to extol the virtues of something he calls the “SMAC stack”. I tell him this sounds awful but, he assures me, “it’s the vernacular for the ease for which you can get into business today,” and it stands for “Social media, Mobility, Applications and Cloud. “Data is like . . . You’re too young, but there was a movie with the [line about] plastics.” When I assure him I’m familiar with The Graduate, he says: “Data is this generation’s plastics. I don’t see business models being truly successful until you get it.” [FT]

  • 14 Jul 2014 at 12:34 PM
  • oh that

$7 Billion Settlements Aside, Citi’s Earnings Are Kick-Ass

Citigroup‘s profits tumbled 96 percent in the second quarter, dragged down by a huge charge related to its recently announced deal with the Justice Department to settle an investigation into its sale of mortgage securities in the run up to the financial crisis. The charge for the legal settlement totaled $3.8 billion, marring an otherwise relatively strong quarter for the bank that was helped by better than expected trading results. Not accounting for the legal charge, or other one-time items, Citigroup exceeded Wall Street expectations in the second quarter with adjusted earnings of $1.24 a share, On that basis, analysts had been expecting Citigroup would earn $1.05 a share, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters…Earlier on Monday, the bank announced a $7 billion deal with the Justice Department. The deal includes a $4 billion cash penalty, the largest yet by a large bank to settle federal investigations of mortgage misdeeds. [Dealbook]

As many of you will recall, at the end of last week, Fox Business reporter Charles Gasparino tweeted the following: “Irony of #sunvalley: media conf closed to the media guarded by bullying and fat ex cops like the guy I told to stop bullying my producer.” At the time, we assumed Gasparino was merely adding depth to his coverage of the conference with some of his patented “behind the scenes”-style tweets. According to FBN’s sister publication, however, the 140 characters were precipitated by this:

The tension began Wednesday night when Gasparino and two of his producers crashed a party that was off-limits to the press. Words were exchanged and they were ordered to leave by MSA Security’s Brian Coughlin, whose day job is with the NYPD bomb squad…Then, on Thursday, Gasparino got into a shouting match with the same security guard and was ordered off the grounds of the mountain resort — “You’re out of here,” Coughlin said.

Did the order– which was apparently followed by an official “trespass citation”– stop Charles from doing his job? Maybe a lesser reporter would’ve cut his/her losses, not deigning to do segments on the side of a highway, but not Charles. Read more »

By day, Jeff Klaips manages a construction clean-up company in a Chicago suburb, but he’s also looking to make a pretty penny from the sale of BillAckman.com and WilliamAckman.com. He’s been trying to pique the interest of the Pershing Square Capital Management founder-or someone who’d like to use his name. Klaips already made a profit from EddieLampert.com, the name of the ESL founder. Inspired by seeing Lampert on CNBC, Klaips says he purchased the domain name on an impulse in 2004…On New Year’s Eve this past year, he received an email from an IT person who works for ESL and was looking to purchase the EddieLampert.com site. Klaips had initially asked $9,000 for the domain, but the hedge fund representative talked him down to $4,200…Ackman has not been willing to deal. [Absolute Return]

  • 11 Jul 2014 at 3:44 PM
  • myths

You Want Fun? GOLDMAN SACHS WILL SHOW YOU FUN

Whoever said Goldman Sachs summer internships were all work and no play apparently never experienced the all-access pass to the FunZone that is GS’s Salt Lake City program. We’re talkin’ scavenger hunts and watching the World Cup in a conference room-level fun. We’re talking 6AM runs with colleagues-fun. Read more »