Bear Stearns is gone, and now so is the portrait of fallen chief executive and company chairman Jimmy Cayne by Geoffrey Raymond, the artist who has painted Eiliot Spitzer, Jim Cramer (twice), Lloyd Blankfein and Dick Grasso. It was sold to the wife of a former Bear Stearns employee. She paid $12,000.
If you walk by Bear Stearns Madison Avenue headquarters tomorrow, you might catch a glimpse of former chief executive Jimmy Cayne on the street.
Unfortunately, we’re not privy to Cayne’s personal schedule. Rather, we know that Geoffrey Raymond, Wall Street’s most important artist, will be displaying his latest masterpiece, a portrait of Cayne, outside the headquarters at 383 Madison. He’ll be asking people passing by to annotate the painting with their thoughts about Bear Stearns and its former leadership.
In the past, Raymond has created similar portraits of Lloyd Blankfein, James Cramer (twice), Eliot Spitzer and Erin Burnett. He first came to DealBreaker’s attention when he appeared outside of the New York Stock Exchange with a portrait of former NYSE head Dick Grasso.
Earlier: Our previous commentary on Raymond’s paintings.
Elsewhere: Raymond’s personal website, The Year of Magical Painting.
The people familiar with the matter have spoken once more, which can only mean one thing: another Wall Street chief is headed for the executioners block. The Wall Street Journal’s Kate Kelly is reporting that Jimmy Cayne has started notifying to board Bear Stearns that he plans to give up the CEO desk while remaining chairman. Alan Schwartz is expected take over.
More tomorrow morning.
Bear CEO Expected to Step Down But Remain in Chairman Post [Wall Street Journal]
“It’s unbelievable. The phones are ringing off the hook, and everyone wants to play golf with me now.”
That’s what Bear Stearns chief executive James Cayne told CNBC’s Charlie Gasparino about the fallout from today’s story about his adventures with the golf and the cards and the pot.
Also, now we know why executives need private planes. How else you going to score at a bridge tournament? Can’t exactly bring your twos with you on a commercial flight. Not even in first class.
Your company’s in trouble and you need to relax. You’ve tried taking every other day of the week off from work to play in golf and bridge tournaments, but that’s not doing the trick because, as it turns out, you’re almost as bad at those things as you are at not losing money, and you routinely turn in unimpressive scores on the green and sometimes place close to dead last at the card table. Skipping out on conference calls two minutes after they’ve started isn’t helping you to unwind (which is surprising, because you were leaving for your three hour deep tissue massage/nap combo, and those usually do the trick), and neither is playing dead. What’s a CEO to do? If you’re Jimmy Cayne, the answer is simple—get high. Get really, really high.
Yes, according to today’s Journal, James Cayne is a pothead, and may even be stoned right now (you would be, too, if you’d recently been outed in a Page One article for being friends with Maury Povich). It’s apparently common practice for Cayne to light up at the end of the day during bridge tournaments, and the old boy once hotboxed a men’s room at a Doubletree hotel in Memphis with “a woman.” He denies the story, though telling, so very tellingly, Cayne told Journal reporter Kate Kelly that he would only respond “to a specific allegation” and not general questions regarding the fact that he loves weed. That the very next thing he did was fish an empty Fresca can out of the recycling bin and ask Kelly if she had “anything sharp enough to poke a hole” is also suspect.
What else did we learn about Cayne today that we didn’t already know? He fancies himself more important than the leader of the free world, refusing to meet with the President about economic issues unless Bushie comes to 383 Madison Avenue (a visit GWB has yet to make, probably because he’s scared the temptations surrounding him in the office of a drug addict will be too much for him to handle). He’s dying to use the term “Mick” (in July, Cayne told mortgage-division head Tom Marano to “keep [his] Irish down”). And perhaps most telling, this: Cayne can no longer enjoy the singular bliss that is lighting up and enjoying a bowl of Count Chocula, because a few years ago, he was diagnosed with a breakfast-cereal allergy, an affliction which he spoke at length about on July 12. And this would probably explain why he has a tendency to act like an unmitigated prick, a trait illustrated by the fact that Cayne regularly schedules time not to work, per se, but to tell employees the various ways in which their children suck (once informing investment chief Alexandra Lebethal that her 11 year-old son had a “rotten handshake” and will be going “nowhere in life” and sending an email to Alan Schwartz that said, “I bet your kids are going to grow up to be just like me”).
Bear CEO’s Handling Of Crisis Raises Issues [WSJ]
“I feel great,” Bear Stearns chief executive James Cayne tells London Thomas of the New York Times.
But it wasn’t clear the editors at the Times are entirely persuaded. They headlined the story with a metaphor that seemed to hint that Cayne might not be at full strength. “Ailing Firm Gets Tonic From China,” the headline proclaims. Thomas uses similar language in the article to describe the firm’s condition and mentions that Cayne recently spent several days in the hospital.
Charlie Gasparino, who first broke the story of Cayne’s hospitalization, is now reporting that his condition was more serious than indicated in earlier reports. At the time, it was reported that Cayne was hospitalized for a urinary tract infection. On CNBC’s Fast Money tonight, however, Gasparino reported that Cayne was hospitalized instead for a prostate infection. Acute prostate infections are usually treatable with antibiotics but sometimes require a hospital stay. Severe cases can be fatal. It is not related to more serious conditions such as prostate cancer.
Would you rather have a CEO who’s become a joke only recently (let’s say June) or one who’s been a joke since day one? A CEO who’s going to kick it any day now or one who’s probably got a few good years left? A CEO who comes into the office or one who works from the green? A CEO with his own ballpark (in association with a certain 88-win team) or one with none? A CEO who’s built something or a CEO who’s danced? A CEO who holds a gun to his board’s collective head to encourage them to nod in agreement when he says stuff like “everything’s going as planned” on conference calls or a CEO who walks out of conference calls two minutes after they’ve begun? A CEO who commissioned an employee to blog about his failures or a CEO who just yesterday stopped a suspicious looking secretary in the hallway and said “If you tell anyone about this, I’ll fucking kill you”? A CEO with white hair or a CEO with black hair with streaks of white? A CEO who’s cut out meat from Bobby Van’s for both “health reasons” and out of respect for animals or a CEO kills a calf every morning “to start the day on a high note”? A CEO who’s fired one or two people so as to cover his own ass or a CEO who’s gotten rid of at least 1,000 (think mysteriously disappearing first-years who were asking too many questions about maintaining positive operating leverage)? In other words:
It’s always sad when veteran employees with spouses/children/golf club memberships to pay for* are shown the door for no good reason (other than the market being in the toilet), but what of the neophytes, who haven’t even been around long enough to have their spirits and wills to live crushed? We’re told that eighty salespeople from Goldman’s Class of 2007, hired just two months ago, were notified yesterday that the firm is “reevaluating” their (collective) role.
The disposables were then given the option of being transferred into operations now or biding their time for the next three months waiting for an as-yet-undecided fate, which could very well include being “let go.” If this is the kind of crap deal being offered to the Mini-Masters of the Universe, what do you think is being proffered to the youth of, say, Bear Stearns?
*By which we do not at all mean to imply James Cayne should be laid off. You came to that conclusion on your own, don’t put that on us.