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The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frres & Coby William Cohan
Synopses & Reviews
A grand and revelatory portrait of Wall Street’s most storied investment bank
Wall Street investment banks move trillions of dollars a year, make billions in fees, pay their executives in the tens of millions of dollars. But even among themost powerfulfirms, Lazard Frres & Co. stood apart. Discretion, secrecy, andsubtle strategy were its weapons of choice. Formore than a century, the mystique and reputation of the "Great Men" who worked there allowed the firm to garner unimaginable profits, social cachet, and outsized influence in the halls of power. But in the mid-1980s, their titanic egos started getting in the way, and the Great Men of Lazard jeopardized all they had built.
William D. Cohan, himself a former high-level Wall Street banker, takes the reader into the mysterious and secretive world of Lazard andpresents acompelling portraitof Wall Street through thetumultuous historyof this exalted and fascinating company. Cohan deconstructs the explosive feuds between Felix Rohatyn and Steve Rattner, superstar investment bankers and pillars of New York society, and between the man who controlled Lazard, the inscrutable French billionaire Michel David-Weill, and his chosen successor, Bruce Wasserstein.
Cohan follows Felix, the consummate adviser, as he reshapes corporate America in the 1970s and 1980s, saves New York City from bankruptcy, and positions himself in New York society and in Washington. Felix’s dreams are dashed after the arrival of Steve, a formidable and ambitious former newspaper reporter.By the mid-1990s, as Lazard neared its 150th anniversary, Steve and Felix were feuding openly.
The internal strife caused by their arguments could not be solved by the imperious Michel, whose manipulative tendencies served only to exacerbate the trouble within the firm. Increasingly desperate, Michel took the unprecedented step of relinquishing operational control of Lazard to one of the few Great Men still around, Bruce Wasserstein, then fresh from selling his own M&A boutique, for $1.4 billion. Bruce’s take: more than $600 million.But it turned out Great Man Bruce had snookered Great Man Michel when the Frenchman was at his most vulnerable.
The LastTycoons is a tale of vaulting ambitions, whispered advice, worldly mistresses, fabulous art collections, and enormous wealth—a story of high drama in the world of high finance.
Journeys deep inside the secret world of the storied Wall Street bank, Lazard Frres & Co., revealing how the explosive feuds and power struggles among investment bankers Felix Rohatyn and Steve Rattner, French billionaire and Lazard CEO Michel David-Weill, and his chosen successor, Bruce Wasserstein, turned the financial world upside down. 150,000 first printing.
WILLIAM D. COHAN, a former award-winning investigative newspaper reporter in Raleigh, North Carolina, worked on Wall Street for seventeen years. He spent six years at Lazard Frres in New York and later became a managing director at JP Morgan Chase. He lives in New York City and Columbia County, New York.
About the Author
William D. Cohan was an award-winning investigative journalist before embarking on a seventeen-year career as an investment banker on Wall Street. He spent six years at Lazard Frères in New York and later became a Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase & Co. He is a graduate of Duke University and received both an MS from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and an MBA from its Graduate School of Business. He lives in New York City and Columbia County, New York.
Table of Contents
"Great men" — "Tomorrow, the Lazard house will go down" — Original sin — "You are dealing with greed and power" — Felix the fixer — The savior of New York — The sun king — Felix for president — "The cancer is greed" — The vicar — The boy wonder — The franchise — "Felix loses it" — "It's a white man's world" — The heir apparent — "All the responsibility but none of the authority" — "He lit up a humongous cigar and puffed it in our faces for half an hour" — "Lazard may go down like the Titanic" — Bid-'em-up Bruce — Civil War — "The end of a dynasty"
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