Thank God it’s Friday! Can you believe that Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy only four days ago? It seems like weeks since Monday. This head-spinning stretch makes me think about a conversation I had with Nancy Peretsman, Allen & Co.’s uber-connected investment banker early last week. Change, she said, is compressing into ever shorter periods of time. She was talking mainly about the transformation of media and tech. But now we see it’s true across Wall Street and our financial universe too.
We saw time compress in so many ways this week: Bank of America buying Merrill Lynch , the Fed saving AIG , and then the President unveiling the biggest intervention to shore the U.S. financial system since the 1930s.
Yesterday Morgan Stanley stock swung as much in a day as it usually swings in a year—from $21 to $12 and back to $22. CEO John Mack is still standing — taller than when I wrote about him yesterday. Note to bloggers: When we mention that a stock declined by X%, we’d better name the price at that moment because by day-end it might double, as Morgan’s did.
Lehman CEO Dick Fuld learned that in this age of instant messaging, taking two days to utter a word to employees is unforgivable. When a “Dear Employees” email finally reached mailboxes, as I reported on Wednesday, he had lost his troops’ sympathy. Meanwhile, no sooner did Lehman’s North American workforce lose their jobs than Barclays swooped in to save them. And did you hear that one of the one Lehman execs key to that rescue, Mark Shafir, cut across town to Citigroup ? He’s the new global head of M&A at Citi.
What will next week bring? Let’s not think about it yet. May your weekend be long and leisurely.