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Oblivion looms for Loomis


When a man is down, bankers rarely hesitate to stick in the knife. So the moment Bill Loomis was sacked as Lazard's chief executive by Michel David-Weill out came the stilettos.

Character assassins say Loomis only got the job because he was a stooge who posed no threat to the chairman. "He was so much in David-Weill's shadow, if Michel stopped, Loomis would bump into him," remarks one wit. "He was a Michel clone."

Another puts a kinder spin on the man who might have been the new king of Lazards. "He was an ideal committee chairman. Bill didn't ruffle any feathers in an organization where you have some of the world's most obnoxious people all of whom are independently wealthy and are used to cutting people's throats as soon as look at them."

So what went wrong? One former partner attributes Loomis's departure to a bid for power by Paris partners whose fees were outstripping those earned in the US.

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