Andrew Ross Sorkin On The Credit Crisis

Question: Are the CEOS of banks to blame?

 

Andrew Ross Sorkin: Well, I would think that there should be-- that the CEOs of most of these banks bear an enormous responsibility. You asked if there should be greater consequence. Some would argue there's already been that consequence in that I think if you look Chuck Prince who ran Citigroup doesn’t run Citigroup anymore. Stan O'Neil who ran Merrill Lynch doesn’t run Merrill Lynch anymore. Jimmy Cane who ran Bear Stearns doesn’t run Bear Stearns anymore. So some of that consequence has already taken place and often the consequence beyond that has taken place in their wallet frankly, because beyond losing their job, their stock is worth a lot less. I think you will probably see more people lose their jobs. We saw the CEO of Wachovia lose his job yesterday. So I think you are seeing some of that and they do bear an enormous amount of responsibility. And frankly, whether they like it or not, I guess they're taking it, right?

 

Question: How has Bernanke handled the crisis?

 

Andrew Ross Sorkin: Well, Bernanke is an interesting character because at this very moment that we're filming this today, he probably actually looks like he's done the right thing. He might have been slow off the mark initially, but he really got aggressive and did some very unique and interesting things, offering and lending money to the brokerages in ways that they've never been lent to before. And so you can give him an A+ for creativity. The question is really whether this is a long term solution or a stock gap, a band aid and whether he is just allowing Rome to burn a little bit longer. That I think, is the fundamental question and I'm sure we don't have the answer to that just yet.

 

Recorded on: June 3, 2008

 

The "big bank" CEOs are largely responsible, says Sorkin.

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