Rich Marin, the embattled head of Bear Stearns asset management arm, was forced to step aside Friday in the wake of the near-collapse of two hedge funds associated with his division. He remains with the firm in an advisory capacity.
Marin’s fate was finally sealed after the New York Times took pot shots at him for taking time off to go to the movies as the rest of Wall Street worked round the clock trying to forge a rescue package for the funds.
And how did the NYT know about Rich’s extra-curricular activities? He blogged about them of course, in his personal Web log 'Whim of Iron'.
While the crisis was unfolding around him, Marin stole off to the local cinema to take in the new Kevin Costner movie Mr Brooks, and then wrote a review of it in his Web log.
It wasn’t Marin’s first time out during the crisis. Earlier in the week, after “another long weekend day at the office saving the world,” Marin took in Evan Almighty.
I spent a bit of time perusing Marin’s blog on Friday – before it was eventually put under lock and key and its Google cache wiped off the face of the Internet – and it consisted mostly of inoffensive musings on movies and his struggle to lose weight. Work-related
postings were few and far-between – thankfully, since those I did stumble across were ever-so-slightly smug and self-serving.
Take this excerpt, from Saturday 23 June, set against a still from the recent move 300, in which a group of Spartans take up arms against the Persian Empire.
“This pretty much sums up my last two weeks trying to defend Sparta against the Persians hordes of Wall Street. Nothing like a good dog fight 24X7 for a few weeks to remind you why you chose the life you chose. The good news is that after two embattled weeks
both I and my loyal staff are still standing to fight another day. If you want details....pick up any WSJ for the past week and we were in the top three stories every day. It's nice to know you can have an impact on the world.”
So, while Bear Stearns was shelling out $1.6 billion to prop up one of the two ailing hedge funds, Rich – like a true Master of Universe – was enjoying the dogfight and relishing the headlines in the Wall Street Journal. Forget the trips to the cinema, this vainglorious
alpha-male ramble alone should have been enough to make Marin’s masters sit up and take notice.