Where are the Lehman Bros stars of yesteryear?

Well, Dick Fuld, former chief executive of the most famous defunct firm in recent history (who speaks of Enron anymore) is living quite comfortably still despite dropping over US$1 billion from his net worth.

According to a Reuters article, Fuld, who presided over the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which had been around in one form or another for 150 plus years, was holed up with his wife Kathy in a "bucolic setting beside a river and amid tree-covered slopes in Ketchum, Idaho".

However, the Fulds have been down-sizing. They were forced to sell their New York apartment for US$25.87 million in August - probably at a small loss - as well as part of their art collection by "artists such as Arshile Gorky and Barnett Newman" for an additional US$13.5 million.

The couple have also stopped playing squash and chartering private jets. More tellingly, Kathy no longer shops at Hermes, or so a "source close to the couple", told Reuters.

"It could be that they're pulling back the spending or it could be that she doesn't want to be seen spending, so she could be having someone else do the shopping for her," the source said.

We've all got problems.

As the frontman for Lehman Brothers, Fuld has naturally had to cop a lot of flak for the failure of the firm and while it would be nice to blame one person for the near-collapse of the world's financial system, you can't.

Anyway, he's already been punched in the face.

As "two very senior sources - one incredibly senior source" told it, Fuld "went to the gym after ... Lehman was announced as going under. He was on a treadmill with a heart monitor on. Someone was in the corner, pumping iron and he walked over and he knocked him out cold. And frankly after having watched this, I'd have done the same too."

Like most of the world's media the Financial Times has run a special feature contemplating the Lehman's collapse one year after the event.

Not one of the FT columnists suggested investment bankers should be punched in the face but Niall Ferguson did come up with a wacky argument that Michael Jackson might still be alive today if Lehman Brothers had been rescued.

Ferguson's point is that back-testing fictitious Lehman rescue operations is a futile exercise - it's gone and if it were not Lehman Brothers some other similar, debt-bloated entity deemed too big to fail, would have failed. The music stopped for a good reason.

Blame it on the good times.

- David Chaplin
- Picture: Former Lehman CEO Dick Fuld. Photo / Getty Images