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Bruce breaches Lazard fortress

Wal-Mart: Wasserstein jumped in at the last
minute to claim the deal

Speaking to Euromoney in April 1993, Lazard chairman Michel David-Weill expressed a fear of "mercenaries - the people who would come to the firm to make money". His appointment of Bruce Wasserstein as Lazard's chief executive suggests that he has either overcome his distaste for money-grubbers or that the firm is doing so badly that its very survival depends on having a few more of them on board.

This marriage of feudal lord and mercenary raises questions, not least about Lazard's future. The 250-year old firm's continuing independence is said to be David-Weill's unshakeable oath. But colleagues argue that Wasserstein's urge to maximize his fortune will drive him to find a way to sell it. Observers suspect he has given an undertaking to keep the firm independent. But one speculates: "Bruce will be very clever at galvanizing things.

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