Lehman Brothers failure … 694,401,926 losers

We’ll let the forensic professionals conduct the autopsy on Lehman Brothers Holdings following its bankruptcy filing.

Over the next few days, we expect to read some extraordinary reporting in our favorite newspapers. Seriously: Those Page One “anatomy of a failure” stories will highlight some important lessons learned and offer keen observations on management and relations with the capital markets.

The financial CSIs will probe the multiple injuries that led to the investment bank’s demise – and no doubt they will point the finger of blame, perhaps spreading ample amounts among the likely culprits. This is not so pleasant to read, but it can be instructive, especially in a time of ongoing crisis.

Politicians, too, will visit the morgue. We’ll probably see some candidates going through the pockets of the corpse in search of election-year gain.

For us, it’s a sad day. We know of 694,401,926 losers – actually, a smaller number of owners of those outstanding shares of Lehman common stock – plus, of course, many other stakeholders including the employees.

The coming days will show us whether investors generally, including those of the companies for which we as investor relations people toil, also suffer deep or long-term losses. Good luck to all.


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