In the financial world, brand and institutional heritage are powerful. As an aside, I am intrigued to ponder how many blows the Goldman Sachs brand can suffer before it is decisively diminished. This latest episode concerning maverick board member Rajat Gupta is disconcerting. There is a huge difference between sitting in a franchise seat, as most investment bankers do, and creating the franchise. I am always intrigued when I have the chance to meet financiers who have had the guts to found their own firms. It was thus a great pleasure to have lunch with Jonathan Lourie, one of the co-founders of Cheyne Capital, and John Hyman, who recently joined the London-based hedge fund. They are Morgan Stanley alumni. Jonathan, unusually for a banker, is a modern renaissance man. We had so much to talk about that I was sad when lunch was over, which is more than can be said for most business lunches.
I am also sad that the tenure of Barbara Bargagli-Petrucci as director and head of capital markets at the European Investment Bank is over. She has worked at the EIB for some 17 years and will be sorely missed. I have known Barbara for a while and consider her a friend. She was charming to me when I was a banker and she was charming to me when I was a journalist. I can only concur with the words of Bertrand de Mazières, director general of finance at the EIB, who stated: "Barbara brought great distinction to this critical role... She also cultivated an admirable spirit of partnership between the market and EIB." I wish good things for Barbara in the next chapter of her life and welcome her successor, Eila Kreivi, to this important job.