Jimmy Cayne's Bridge Game Suffering As Bear Stearns Burns

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"I think this is a bridge to a permanent solution," Bear Stearns chief executive Alan Schwartz said during a conference call with investors following the announcement of emergency financing from JP Morgan Chase and the Federal Reserve. But it was a different kind of bridge that was on the mind of Jimmy Cayne, the chairman of Bear Stearns. As Bear shares plunged and Wall Street began to speculate that the bank may not exist as an independent entity by the weekend's end, Cayne was in Detroit, playing in the North American Bridge Championship.
Cayne has been criticized for his aloof leadership style, particularly after the was found to have played bridge and golf, and allegedly smoked marijuana (a charge he denies), during earlier severe crises at Bear back when he was CEO. He resigned in January. But he was, it seems, not so aloof as to remain unaffected by the troubles of the institution where he has worked since 1969. Before yesterday's crisis, Cayne and a partner placed fourth out of 130, the Wall Street Journal reported. Yesterday, however, Cayne's ranking slipped as Bear's shares plummeted. He and his partner slipped to 26th place.
Today's results are not yet available.
Over in the DealBreaker Community forum, a lively discussion about the fate of Bear is continuing.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day.

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