Among the many facticles proffered in Charlie Gasparino’s profile of Lehman CEO Dick Fuld in the latest Trader Monthly, two stand out from the pack—the one about the purchase-of-a-lion-that-wasn’t and the other, about keeping it real at kid’s hockey game, via getting into a fistfight with another father. These anecdotes not only entertain but are instructive in Gasparino’s tale of a man who not only “loves to brag about his aggressiveness” but also is not a pussy. In the greater scheme of things, they also reflect Fuld’s reign at Lehman Brothers and the patterns of isosceles triangles present in the Vitruvian Man but we won’t dirty our hands with that right now (later, though, for sure).
The first is short yet virile: Fuld once declared (no doubt while beating his chest) that he desired to buy a lion after returning from an African safari. Alas, it was not to be: “I knew I couldn’t do that, because those animals eat people,” he told Gasparino.
The second is this: Dick was at his son’s hockey game, with a fellow Lehman executive. An argument with the colleague and a father from the other team ensued—it’s unclear over what, perhaps someone had been cut off by someone else in the parking lot—when Fuld “flashed his famous temper—the one that has made him one of the most intimidating men on Wall Street and earned him the nickname “Gorilla” from his subordinates.” But apparently Fuld’s moves weren’t what they used to be—or maybe hockey fathers are stiffer competition than first year analysts who couldn’t win a fight with their waitress at Lotus—and after a few weak punches, the fracas was broken up. Though Fuld claims to have “had the guy flipped over,” everything that we’ve heard seems to imply that it was the Brother(s) who was on his back. We’ll also refer you to the fact that Dick Fuld is a self-described championship squash player. No other evidence seems necessary.
Point is: Fuld doesn’t exactly strike us as the kind you’d want to have watching your back, if the situation called for it (though, true or false, that picture of him scares the crap out of you?). He's good at making money, we guess, but held back a bit during the rink-side match. But there are going to be times when you will need to call for backup, and in that event, who would you want said backup to be?