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Sard Verbinnen, Wall Street's Go-To Crisis PR Firm

Sard Verbinnen puts out fires and is No. 1 in M&A
Sard monitors the testimony of Lehman’s Dick Fuld in 2008
Sard monitors the testimony of Lehman’s Dick Fuld in 2008

There was enough ink for everyone at the trial of the summer. On July 15, former Goldman Sachs banker Fabrice Tourre—better known as “Fabulous Fab”—walked into U.S. District Court accused of defrauding investors in a subprime mortgage deal during the financial crisis. His picture was on the front page of the New York Times business section, and he would stay in business press headlines for much of the next three weeks. His pretrial years were chronicled, with emphasis on charity work done in Rwanda and diligent study for a doctorate. Op-eds asked whether Tourre was just a scapegoat. His lawyers and prosecutors were profiled. Jurors who nodded off were outed and blogged about; the judge was written up for her leadership; every witness got a turn. The only person journalists at the trial failed to mention was the man with the wavy gray hair.

Sitting in the gallery, well out of range of the sketch artists, George Sard of the public-relations firm Sard Verbinnen was watching the culmination of three years’ work rehabilitating Tourre’s image. Goldman Sachs was footing the bill. As the trial progressed, Sard quietly compared notes with reporters, made sure they got documents they needed, and dashed between the courthouse and a temporary war room in a nearby apartment building to discuss witnesses with Tourre’s legal team.