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Opinion

Geithner receives a phone call: Cry babies or fighting titans?

The New Yorker magazine has offered an intriguing morsel of insight into the days after the Lehman Brothers collapse. According to the article, Tim Geithner, then president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, received a call from a "titan of the financial system" (as Tim put it), who said he was worried but doing fine. Immediately after ending the call, Geithner called the titan back and said: "If anyone hears your voice, you’ll scare the sh*t out of them."

Apparently the man in question’s voice not only gave away how worried he was, it also indicated that the gentleman was not the British stiff-upper-lip type of titan but rather one on the verge of bursting into tears.

Now the question remains: which titan was Geithner so gently reassuring?

Jamie Dimon – unlikely, we doubt he even has tear ducts;

Ken Lewis – more likely, but chances are he just knocked back a Scotch or two instead;

John Stumpf – who knows... or cares;

Lloyd Blankfein – unlikely, after earning $54 million in 2006 there must be little that would make him cry;

John Thain – perhaps he was also having second thoughts about the $87,000 rug in his office;

or Vikram Pandit – a contender – wouldn’t you have cried if you had been chief executive of Citi last year?

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