Monday, September 8, 2008

Management Shake-Ups at Lehman and WaMu Can't Change Stinky Investments

If ever there was a time to slip some management changes in below the radar, this weekend was it.  While every investor worth his salt was furiously calculating a new price target on Fannie and Freddie's common and preferred, it was easy to overlook the ousting of a few key executives.  Washington Mutual gave its CEO Kerry Killinger the boot.  According to the Bloomberg report he was ousted "after he failed to halt losses tied to home mortgages."  The newly appointed CEO Alan Fishman, formerly of Meridian Capital, will take a shot next to see if he can halt the losses.  The stock initially ripped on the announcement, before investors realized that a new CEO can't change the fact that the company's balance sheet reeks like a pile of stinking dung.  Speaking of balance sheets that reek, Lehman has shuffled its management yet again.  The company is replacing the current head of fixed income (who spent all of seven months at the post) with two other guys I've never heard of (feel free to click on the link if you actually care about names.)  Dick Fuld remains in charge, and will continue attempting to concoct some sort of spin-off, recap, asset-sale, financing, write-down, half-caff with a twist, but with new yes men by his side.  In my last post about Lehman, I went out on a limb and offered to eat my crox if a deal with KDB actually materialized.  I have yet to put my bib on, so it's looking good for me.  The only good news I can find in the headlines for Lehman and WaMu investors is that Hank Paulson is finished with his Fannie and Freddie plan.  That means he can move on to the next bailout package.  

1 comment:

Oscar said...

Since Dick Fuld hasn't fired every other Lehman employee yet, we still can't definitively say that he bears any responsibility for the firm's failures. But he certainly seems to be on a mission to use that path to remove all doubt.