Michael von Clemm: end of a legend.
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Michael von Clemm: end of a legend.


Brash, inconsistent, occasionally brilliant, one of the veterans of the Euromarket, Michael von Clemm resigned in January as chairman of premier issuing house Credit Suisse First Boston. The only surprise is that it took him so long.

Von Clemm's career hit a high point in 1979 when a haemorrhage of talent from the top of CSFB left the doctor of anthropology holding the twin titles of chairman and chief executive. Three stormy years with him at the helm changed the institution from a friendly Swiss-American hybrid into a hothouse bursting at the seams with creativity and internal strife. Battling through a succession of crises--losses of $20 million on one bond issue, allegations of malpractice, waves of defections--Von Clemm drove CSFB to the top of the league.

At the end of 1981 von Clemm lost the title of chief executive. His employers had recognized that he was a deal-maker, not a manager. "I'm a hunter; hunters like to bag,' he said to Euromoney. For four more years he continued as a lone hunter, stalking mandates.

As von Clemm's reputation grew in the world at large, his role within CSFB diminished.

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