Fortune Magazine, having run out of actual things to report on, decided that it needed to check in on Dick Fuld. This was somehow not complicated by neither Fuld nor his lawyers wishing to comment on the article.
So what has he been up to? Turns out, not a lot, at least not by his standards. A little consulting here, a little getting his pilot’s license there, basically the kind of thing that he would have called “a light weekend” in his old life. Wait, pilot’s license?
He has also been spotted traveling to and from his usual haunts in Sun Valley and Jupiter Island, Fla., on commercial flights for the first time in years. (Curiously, he shows up on the FAA website as having gotten his student pilot’s certificate in November 2008, so he might be working on a strategy to avoid commercial air travel.)
Ha ha, he doesn’t want to risk brushing elbows with mere millionaires. Either that, or he’s planning to fake his own death a la Krusty the Clown, which, maybe not a bad idea.
As for his consulting gig, he’s said to be spending upwards of 60 hours a week (once known as “a working vacation”) at the office of his latest venture, Matrix Advisors, which is more executive advisory than dodging bullets. It’s a four-person office, and no one really knows exactly what he’s actually doing there all day. We’d like to think he leaves his house at 6 in the morning, commutes roughly an hour to the office, where he shuts the door and just cries for twelve hours before going home to outdrink Don Draper. Yes, this would please us.
“Now wait,” you may be saying, “this guy was known as ‘The Gorilla’ as much for his sloping brow line as for his rough temperament and the beautiful silver hair that covers every square inch of his back. He cannot have a human emotion, let alone functioning tear ducts.” Normally, I would be inclined to agree with you, but then this came to light:
Fuld then told White he was leaving Lehman. White asked whether he would be joining Barclays. “F— that,” Fuld said. “I’m not going to Barclays. F— that.” White said he wouldn’t be going to Barclays either, and told Fuld about Spring Hill. Fuld offered to help White any way he could. Then it was time for White to leave. Fuld stood up and came around to the other side of his desk to shake White’s hand. He put his hand out, then pulled it back. “Nah, f— that,” he said. “Give me a hug. I need a hug.” Before White knew it, Fuld, the man whose gruff, brutish manner had given him the nickname “the Gorilla,” was embracing him. Then, White said, Fuld started crying. “Kevin, you’re the first person to say thank-you to me.”
Was a hug all he ever really needed? Could so much of this had been avoided had someone walked into Fuld’s office with a banana as a peace offering, embraced him, and told him they loved him? Probably not, but those questions are a lot more pleasant to ponder than the ensuing love scene that played out in my head after I read that passage. Suffice to say, there’s more than one reason he was called The Gorilla.
But that’s what’s been keeping him out of trouble lately. Well, that and what is sure to be a neverending string of congressional hearings and lawsuits and possibly criminal charges that will consume his life until literally his dying day. Maybe he needs to get with the Krusty Solution sooner rather than later.