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In his post-mortem of a brutal day on Wall Street , Jim Cramer told viewers on his "Mad Money" TV show on Monday that the fall of Lehman Brothers (LEH), Merrill Lynch (symbol)and American International Group (AIG) demonstrated once again the need for market "transparency" and the height of CEO "arrogance and denial."
Cramer singled out Richard Fuld, Lehman's CEO, who, he said, passed up opportunity after opportunity to save his company. He said Fuld hurt his company by being so "self-absorbed," "self-interested" and "so sure of his company's future."For his failings, Cramer removed Fuld from his Wall of Shame, noting the CEO wasn't being removed because he was ousted but because he "drove his company to bankruptcy." By contrast, Cramer had kinder words for John Thain, Merrill Lynch's CEO. He said Thain did the most he could for his company, which has agreed to be purchased by Bank of America (BAC). Cramer said he had urged AIG to take action but said his advice fell on deaf ears. He said Robert Willumstad, the company's CEO, made the mistake of keeping silent on AIG's mortgage exposure and shunned the opportunity to sell when he had the chance. Cramer said the Securities and Exchange Commission complicated matters by not pushing for greater transparency as it did when when it dealt with E-Trade's (ETFC)'s problems. Cramer called today's historic market collapse "a disgraceful period in laissez-faire capitalism" that was marked by poor government oversight.
Cramer: The Fed and SEC Dropped the Ball