REUTERS - Five years ago, a series of black cars and SUVs lined up outside the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in lower Manhattan, ferrying some of the most important people in the U.S. financial system to a series of meetings to discuss the fate of Lehman Brothers. The regulators and bankers at that meeting hashed out a plan for Barclays (BARC.L) to buy Lehman, but UK regulators scotched the plan. The ensuing bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers turned a widening U.S. subprime crisis into a full-blown global banking panic that was only halted through trillions of dollars of government support. Below is a compendium of some of the major players in the Lehman drama, and the financial crisis overall, and what they have been up to since the crisis:
Following the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, former CEO Fuld founded a consulting firm called Matrix Advisors LLC, which focuses on mergers and acquisitions for small companies. He currently consults for GlyEco, Inc., a "green chemistry" company based in Phoenix in which his wife Kathleen holds a 6.45 percent stake. GlyEco's 2012 annual report listed Fuld as a risk factor, warning that Fuld's work for the company "might attract negative publicity" and that it could "adversely affect our revenue and results of operations" if Fuld suffers bad press.
Since stepping down as chief executive of Bear Stearns in January 2008, just before it was sold to JPMorgan (JPM.N), Cayne has kept a low profile. One exception: playing bridge. Cayne, famous for smoking marijuana and playing cards while his bank was running into trouble in 2007, ranks 22nd in the American Contract Bridge League's "Players of the Decade" list as of August 2013. His team also won the Reisinger Trophy, which is awarded to the winner of a national bridge championship, in 2010 and 2011.
The former Treasury Secretary left public office in January 2009 to work on his memoir On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System, which was published in February 2010. Otherwise, he has largely kept out of the public spotlight. In June 2011, Paulson announced the founding of the Paulson Institute, an independent think-and-do-tank on the University of Chicago's campus that promotes economic growth and environmental stability in the United States and China.
Geithner made the jump from the head of the New York Fed to become President Barack Obama's Treasury Secretary from January 2009 and January 2013. Since leaving public office Geithner joined the Council on Foreign Relations in New York as a distinguished fellow. He is also at work on a memoir about the federal government's response to the financial crisis, due to be released in May 2014.
The only top policymaker to remain in the same position since the financial crisis, Bernanke continues to lead the Federal Reserve after he was re-nominated for a second term that began in 2010. But Bernanke has taken a lot of flak for the Fed's decisions during the financial crisis - he received more Senate votes against his confirmation (30 out of 100) in 2010 than any other Fed chairman in history. His second term is due to expire on January 31, 2014, and he is likely to be succeeded by either former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers or Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen.
Prince was one of the first Wall Street casualties of the financial crisis, retiring from the top spot at Citigroup in November 2007 when the bank announced it was writing down $8 billion to $11 billion of bonds linked to subprime mortgages. Prince remains active in corporate boardrooms - he currently serves as a director of Xerox Corp and Johnson & Johnson Inc. Those directorships are likely a welcome source of income - in 2010, Prince testified before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, he said that he hadn't sold nearly every share of Citigroup stock that he had acquired over a three-decade career.
O'Neal was ousted from his position as chairman and chief executive of Merrill Lynch in late 2007. Months later he was named to the board of directors of Alcoa, Inc., where he has remained until the present day. He also serves on the board of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and between 2009 and 2012, he served on the board of American Beacon Advisors, Inc., an investment advisory firm.
Thain convinced Bank of America to buy Merrill Lynch, the investment bank and brokerage he was CEO of, during the weekend that Lehman Brothers was failing. But he resigned from Bank of America in January 2009 after Merrill announced that it lost $15 billion in the fourth quarter and had paid out big bonuses ahead of its sale. He went on to become the chief executive of CIT Group, a company that specializes in small and medium-sized commercial lending. Thain, who had held senior roles at Goldman Sachs and NYSE Euronext before joining Merrill Lynch, told the Wall Street Journal in June that he "wouldn't have taken the Merrill job" in retrospect.
The co-founder of subprime mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp left in 2008, after he sold his company to Bank of America. The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Mozilo, Countrywide chief operating officer David Sambol, and chief financial officer Eric Sieracki with violating insider trading laws and committing securities fraud by not disclosing the deteriorating state of its underwriting standards. Mozilo settled with the agency in 2010, agreeing to pay $67.5 million in penalties and surrendered ill-gotten gains and to be barred from serving as an officer or a director of a public company. In 2011, Mozilo told examiners for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that he was "proud of what we accomplished" in building the company that has resulted in more than $40 billion of mortgage and litigation losses for Bank of America. Now, Mozilo's lawyer said the former executive most spends his time on philanthropic activities focusing on the underprivileged.
(Reuters contacted representatives of all the above in compiling this list, only Stan O'Neal and Chuck Prince were unavailable to comment)
(Reporting by Peter Rudegeair; editing by Daniel Wilchins and David Evans)