It turns out that the next best thing to running a successful bank may well be running a catastrophically unsuccessful one.
At the very least, Dicky Fuld and Jimmy Cayne did very, very well for themselves according to a new report from a bunch of Harvard Law School eggheads. So did their buddies: Executives at the late Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers took home some $2.5 billion in cash over the last nine years of the banks' all-too-short lives.
The report shows that the top five executives at each firm walked away with $250 million apiece on average from 2000 until last year when both firms ceased to be able to pay huge bonuses or to, you know, function. Everyone's favorite pothead cashed out a comfortable $388 million, which should keep him well-supplied for some time. Wall Street's cutest primate, for his part, banked $541 million.
What's more, only Jimmy was too, uh, distracted to get the hell out while he still could. The other nine executives in the study had sold way more shares during the period covered than they held when it all fell apart. Not so James Cayne: Mr. Integrity actually owned a bigger chunk of Bear at the end of his tenure than he had sold during the rest of the decade.
Did we mention that one of the report's authors, Lucian Bebchuk, is BFF with and an adviser to Pay Czar Ken Feinberg?
The Wages Of Failure [working draft from Harvard Law School]
Lehman, Bear Executives Cashed Out Big [WSJ]