Richard Fuld, head of the now bankrupt Lehman Bros. and this year’s recipient of the Michael Eisner Award, testified for two hours before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The New York Times reports:
Mr. Fuld said in sworn testimony before a Congressional panel on Monday that while he took full responsibility for the debacle, he believed all his decisions “were both prudent and appropriate” given the information he had at the time.
“I wake up every single night wondering what I could have done differently,” he said. “This is a pain that will stay with me the rest of my life.”
Henry A. Waxman, the California Democrat who heads the panel, began the hearing with an assault on Mr. Fuld’s pay, bringing out a chart showing that the Lehman chief executive received nearly $500 million in salary and bonus payments in the last eight years.
“That’s difficult to comprehend for a lot of people,” Mr. Waxman said. “I have a very basic question for you, is that fair?”
Mr. Fuld first took issue with the numbers, saying the accurate figure was probably less than $250 million. “The majority of my compensation came in stock and the vast majority of the stock that I got I still owned at the point of our filing,” referring to the firm’s bankruptcy filing.
Mr. Fuld was once worth close to $1 billion and now has a net worth estimated at about $100 million. He and his wife have been forced to sell some of their renowned art collection.
We feel so very sorry for you Mr. Fuld.
If while cleaning out your Wall Street office today (Dow down another 508 points!) you can’t bear the prospect of living another day as a measly hundred millionaire, look down at the street below. Perhaps you’ll see someone holding this sign:
The choice is yours…