Richard S. Fuld, Jr.

Richard S. Fuld, Jr.
Richard Severin Fuld, Jr.

Fuld speaking at a World Resources Institute forum in January 2007.
Born April 26, 1946(1946-04-26)
New York City
Nationality United States
Education University of Colorado (B.A./B.S.)
New York University
Salary $22,030,534 (2007)
Net worth decrease US$100 million (est.)
(November 2008) [2]
Title Former Chairman & CEO of Lehman Brothers
Board member of Middlebury College, New York-Presbyterian Hospital
Spouse Kathleen Fuld
Children Jacqueline, Chrissie, Richie

Richard Severin "Dick" Fuld, Jr. (born April 26, 1946) is an American investment banker and business executive best known as the final Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lehman Brothers. Fuld had held this position since the firm's 1994 spinoff from American Express until 2008. Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11[3] on September 15, 2008, and subsequently announced a sale of major operations to parties including Barclays Bank and Nomura Securities.

Fuld was nicknamed the "Gorilla" on Wall Street for his competitiveness.[4] Condé Nast Portfolio ranked Fuld number one on their Worst American CEOs of All Time list, stating he was "belligerent and unrepentant".[5]


Early life

Fuld was born in New York City, to Jewish parents, Richard Severin Fuld, Sr. and Elizabeth Schwab.[6] He is also a second cousin of Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Sam Fuld.[7]

He received both a B.A. and B.S. from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1969 and his M.B.A. from New York University's Stern School of Business[1] in 1973. While attending Colorado, Fuld participated in the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program and was president of the school's chapter of the Alpha Tau Omega social fraternity.[8]

Fuld's first career as an Air Force pilot came to an end when he got into a fistfight with a commanding officer. He was said to have been defending a young cadet who was being taunted by the senior officer.[9]

Lehman Brothers

He then began his career with Lehman Brothers in 1969, the year the firm's senior partner Robert Lehman died, and stayed at the company until its bankruptcy. He began as a commercial paper trader and rose rapidly.

At the time of his departure, Fuld worked for Lehman for nearly 40 years. During this time, Fuld witnessed and participated in the numerous changes which the organization endured, including its merger with Kuhn, Loeb & Co, its acquisition by American Express, its merger with E.F. Hutton, and its ultimate spin-off from American Express in 1994, once again as Lehman Brothers.

Having served as CEO from 1994 through the firm's collapse in 2008, Fuld was the longest-tenured CEO on Wall Street at the time of the financial crisis of 2008. Fuld had steered Lehman through the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, a period where the firm's share price dropped to $22 USD in 1998.

Fuld had a succession of "number twos" under him, usually titled as President and Chief Operating Officer. T. Christopher Pettit served until November 26, 1996, when he lost a power struggle with his deputies, likely brought about after Pettit had a mistress which violated Fuld's unwritten rules on marriage and social etiquette. Bradley Jack and Joseph M. Gregory were appointed co-COOs in 2002, however Jack was demoted to the Office of the Chairman in May 2004 and departed in June 2005 with a severance package of $80 million, making Gregory the sole COO and President. Gregory was demoted on June 12, 2008 and replaced by Bart McDade, who would see Lehman through bankruptcy. [10]

In 2006, Institutional Investor magazine named Fuld America's top chief executive in the private sector. In 2007, Fuld had reached the pinnacle of success having turned a 1993 loss of $102 million into a 2007 profit of $4.2 billion. That same year in December, Fuld told The Wall Street Journal: "... As long as I am alive this firm will never be sold." In March 2008, Fuld appeared in Barron's list of the 30 best CEOs and was dubbed "Mr. Wall Street." However, the "Guerrilla" warfare would soon be over with the coming of the credit crisis, a force apparently more powerful than Wall Street. It is at this critical juncture that Fuld made the classic competitive error: underestimate the opponent and overestimate self.[11] He received nearly half a billion dollars in total compensation from 1993 to 2007.[12] In 2007, Fuld was paid a total of $22,030,534, which included a base salary of $750,000, a cash bonus of $4,250,000, and stock grants of $16,877,365.[13]

Bankruptcy and aftermath

Fuld was initially praised for handling the initial subprime mortgage crisis well, better than any of the other bulge bracket firms, behind Goldman Sachs.[14]

Fuld would be criticized for not completing several proposed deals, either a capital injection or a merger, that would have saved Lehman Brothers from bankruptcy. Interested parties had included Warren Buffett[15] and the Korea Development Bank.[16] Fuld was said to have played a game of brinkmanship, refusing to accept offers that could have rescued the firm because they didn't reflect the value he saw in the bank.[4]

Fuld was said to have underestimated the downturn in the US housing market and its effect on Lehman's mortgage bond underwriting business.[who?] Fuld kept his job as the subprime mortgage crisis took hold, while CEOs of rivals like Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and Citigroup were forced to resign.[4] In addition, Lehman's board of directors, which includes retired CEOs like Vodafone's Christopher Gent and IBM's John Akers were reluctant to challenge Fuld as the firm's share price spiraled lower. [4]

In October 2008, Fuld was among twelve Lehman Brothers executives who received grand jury subpoenas in connection to three criminal investigations led by the United States Attorney's offices in the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York as well as the District of New Jersey, related to the alleged securities fraud associated with the collapse of the firm.[17][18][19]

On October 6, 2008, Fuld testified before the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform regarding the causes and effects of the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.[20][21][22]

After Lehman

On November 10, 2008 Fuld transferred his Florida mansion to his wife Kathleen for $100 in order to protect the house from potential legal actions against him. They had bought it four years earlier for $13.56 million.[23][24]

In late March 2009, Fuld had an email sent out stating that he joined Matrix Advisors, a New York-based hedge fund.[25]

In May 2010, Fuld was registered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) as employed by Legend Securities, a securities brokerage and investment banking firm in New York.[26][27]

Awards, honors and board memberships

In 2006, Fuld was named #1 CEO in the Brokers & Asset Managers category, by Institutional Investor magazine.[28] In 2007 he received a $22 million bonus.[29]

Fuld at one time served on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a position he ceased holding shortly before the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. He is a member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum and the Business Council. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of Middlebury College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He was also on the board of directors of the Robin Hood Foundation but was removed from the Board following the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.[30]

In December 2008, Fuld was given the "Lex Overpaid CEO" and "thief" award of the Financial Times for having received $34m in 2007 and $40.5m in 2006, the last two years before his bank's failure.[31]

CNN named Fuld as one of the "Ten Most Wanted: Culprits of the Collapse" of the 2008 financial collapse in the United States; he was placed at number 9 on the list.[32]

In popular culture

Richard Fuld was portrayed by James Woods in the 2011 HBO film Too Big To Fail.

Fuld also appeared in the 2010 documentary Inside Job.[33]

In October 2011, a theatrical film titled Margin Call was released depicting Lehman Brothers on its final day before closing; Jeremy Irons portrayed "John Tuld", a fictionalized version of Fuld. Writer/director J. C. Chandor's father worked at Merrill Lynch for 40 years. Many critics gave the film high praise for its realistic depictions of actual events and for its authentic language.[34] [35]

Personal life



Other interests and activities





Motor vehicles


  1. ^ a b Peter Robison; Yalman Onaran (September 15, 2008). "Fuld's Subprime Bets Fueled Profit, Undermined Lehman". Bloomberg. Retrieved September 23, 2008. "Fuld earned a BA from the University of Colorado and an MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business." 
  2. ^ [1] New York Amsterdam News.
  3. ^ Lehman files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy,, September 15, 2008
  4. ^ a b c d "Lehman CEO Fuld's hubris contributed to meltdown". Reuters. September 14, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Portfolio's Worst American CEOs of All Time: Dick Fuld",, April 30, 2009, retrieved October 6, 2011
  6. ^ "". Retrieved April 4, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Tampa Bay Rays news and notes – St. Petersburg Times". Retrieved April 4, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Lehman Brothers CEO To Speak At CU-Boulder Graduate School Of Business Commencement" (Press release). University of Colorado at Boulder. April 27, 2001. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  9. ^ Fuld's Air Force career came to abrupt end after he got into fist fight with commanding officer, The Times, September 16, 2008
  10. ^ Ward, Vicky (October 20, 2009). "Lehman's Desperate Housewives". Vanity Fair. Retrieved April 4, 2011. 
  11. ^ Irwin, Tim (2009). Derailed: five lessons learned from catastrophic failures of leadership. Thomas Nelson. pp. 77–87. ISBN 159555274X. "Profile #6 – Dick Fuld" 
  12. ^ Kristof, Nicholas D. (September 18, 2008). "Nicholas D. Kristof: $17,000 an hour. No success required.". The New York Times/International Herald Tribune. Retrieved April 4, 2011. 
  13. ^ CEO Compensation for Richard S. Fuld Jr,
  14. ^ Anderson, Jenny (October 28, 2007). "The Survivor". The New York Times. 
  15. ^ Susan Antilla. "Top 10 lessons from Lehman Brothers fiasco | The Journal Gazette | Fort Wayne, IN". The Journal Gazette. Retrieved April 4, 2011. 
  16. ^ Jonathan Kennedy (August 22, 2008). "Dick Bove: Lehman (LEH) CEO Fuld Hopeless, Hostile Takeover At $20 Per Share". Retrieved April 4, 2011. 
  17. ^ David B. Caruso (October 17, 2008). "Prosecutors subpoena ex-Lehman CEO Richard Fuld". Associated Press via Google. Retrieved October 29, 2008. 
  18. ^ Emily Anderson, Chuck Hadad (October 17, 2008). "Former Lehman Brothers CEO subpoenaed". CNN. Retrieved October 29, 2008. 
  19. ^ Joe Sabo (October 17, 2008). "Lehman Executives Including Fuld Subpoenaed, New York Post Says". Bloomberg. Retrieved October 29, 2008. 
  20. ^ Committee Holds Hearing on Causes and Effects of the Lehman Brothers Bankruptcy Retrieved October 6, 2008[dead link]
  21. ^ Fuld's testimony (PDF) Retrieved October 6, 2008
  22. ^ Bill Berkrot, Reuters "Lehman's Fuld to testify at congressional hearing" retrieved October 3, 2008.
  23. ^ Adegoke, Yinka (January 26, 2009). ", Retrieved on January 26, 2009". Reuters. Retrieved April 4, 2011. 
  24. ^ Retrieved on January 26, 2009 Der Spiegel,[dead link]
  25. ^ "Lehman Brothers’ Dick Fuld Has a New Gig". April 3, 2009. Retrieved June 27, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Dick Fuld Re-Emerges at Legend Securities". May 14, 2009. Retrieved July 7, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Dick Fuld’s New Friends". June 8, 2009. Retrieved July 7, 2010. 
  28. ^
  29. ^ Lehman CEO Fuld's hubris contributed to meltdown,, September 14, 2008
  30. ^ Lehman Chief: Subprime's End-Near; Pain-Not Over, Forbes, April 16, 2008
  31. ^ Lex Column (December 22, 2008). "Overpaid CEO award". Financial Times: 12. 
  32. ^ "Culprits of the Collapse". CNN. Retrieved April 4, 2011. 
  33. ^ Ebert, Roger (October 13, 2010). "Inside Job". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  34. ^ "'All That Glitters'". The New Yorker. October 31, 2011. Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  35. ^ "'Margin Call': A Financial-Crisis Film That's on the Money". The Atlantic. October 31, 2011. Retrieved October 29, 2011. 

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