The Lion In WinterLeah Nathans Spiro
No question, John H. Gutfreund was a flawed manager. As chief executive of Salomon Inc. from 1983 to August, 1991, he made some big mistakes. Perhaps the worst was failing to inform the New York Federal Reserve Bank in 1991 when the firm found it had submitted a false bid in a Treasury note auction. Although he was never charged with wrongdoing, Gutfreund resigned from Salomon and agreed to pay a $100,000 civil penalty. Another major error was cutting a special pay deal with supertrader John W. Meriwether, which badly undermined the firm's compensation system--a problem that endures today. Nor was Gutfreund well-liked: A gruff man, he suffered fools badly and had no use for the press.
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