By November 2006, Wasserstein was ready to re-introduce himself to Wall Street and corporate America. “I remember hearing somebody say, ‘How can the guy take that kind of money and walk down the hall in front of us?’ Or ‘How can he face his partners after doing that?’ And somebody answered with words to the effect of ‘He’s not even thinking that way.’ Where the average guy would be embarrassed, that just wasn’t Bruce’s personality. After splitting up with the glamorous and stunning Claude, he fathered a child, in 2008, with a recent graduate of Columbia Business School. Joe Perella recalls how “Bruce’s standard diet was hamburger for lunch, shrimp cocktail and steak for dinner. Mr. Wasserstein was rushed in an ambulance to a hospital in Manhattan. Not bad for a guy who was willing to make it up as he went along, as his old friend Larry Grafstein put it. They knew that Wasserstein had pledged to the analyst community that Lazard would pay out a maximum of 57.5 percent of annual revenue in the form of compensation, so this was a zero-sum game: what he took for himself would necessarily cut into what they could make. All rights reserved. So, finally, one day I say, ‘Bruce, look, you’re not going to want to hear this, but I don’t think you’re eating a healthy diet.’ And he said to me, ‘You’re right. Jacobs considered getting rid of Lazard’s fractionally owned corporate jet, which had ferried Wasserstein almost everywhere he went, but ultimately couldn’t bring himself to. Let him go! He had lost his relevance. On August 2, 2006, after Lazard reported its second-quarter earnings, the Financial Times asked Steve Golub, who had been acting as the firm’s C.E.O. The fact that he was sick wasn’t noticed by a lot of us for a month or two.”, In July 2006, Wasserstein was seen around town again. “Bruce and Kathleen had a very, very animated discussion about politics and the present state of political affairs. Do Not Sell. After Wasserstein’s death, Jacobs expensed in one fell swoop the costs remaining on Wasserstein’s five-year employment contract. Wasserstein had been hospitalized in serious condition for an irregular heartbeat. If he generated $30 or $40 million worth of fees in the nine years he was at Lazard, he generated a lot. “Oh, God, he just wouldn’t pose for a picture standing side by side. Her mother is the executive director of Franklin Area Community Services in Franklin, Ohio, a United Way agency that provides emergency assistance to low-income families. Wasserstein and Perella met while working a corporate acquisition, and within 20 minutes of their first encounter, Wasserstein had taken control of the meeting. (Wasserstein had originally asked for a 10-year contract for $365 million.) Nothing about his health, nothing about his diet, nothing about his personal life—we never even knew he was married to someone before Chris [Parrott, his second wife] until I read it in your book The Last Tycoons.” He seems genuinely shocked. Wasserstein and Perella had a reunion of sorts in February 2008 at the Lotos Club, in New York, during a dinner celebrating the 20th anniversary of the founding of their firm. Lazard announced it was setting aside $90 million (pre-tax) to cover costs of an unspecified number of future firings. (For unexplained reasons, the tax authorities in the state of New York allowed Wasserstein to get away with this gambit.) She would be willing to talk about her brother and his life, but only with the consent of Bruce’s oldest child, Pamela, a 32-year-old lawyer who worked at the Wall Street law firm Wachtell Lipton and Leon Black’s Apollo Management L.P. before becoming a project director at the Tribeca Film Institute. Someone who spoke with him then at a New York restaurant described him as looking “frail” and “shaky” from having lost “so much weight.” Another person who saw him that same evening said that he looked like a “sickly 70-year-old,” instead of the once invincible conqueror, and added, “He is in bad shape.” Felix Rohatyn, the longtime Lazard partner and former U.S. ambassador to France, and his wife, Elizabeth, saw Wasserstein at an East Side brasserie around that time and remarked to themselves that he looked terrible. © 2020 Condé Nast. “It’s classic Bruce,” one of his former partners tells me. But then he wouldn’t allow you to capitulate, so the negotiation cycle would begin anew.”, Myerson thinks all these contradictions made his friend extraordinary. “He was bruised all over his body,” explains one who saw him after he returned to the office that May. “He looked like a guy who had been going through chemo or something.” Inside the firm, the explanation was that he was suffering a prolonged bout of pneumonia. I don’t think I want to try to characterize his reasons for it.”, Wasserstein promptly moved back to New York, as the head of Lazard, in early 2002. Her research is focused on legal and political anthropology, comparative spirituality and critical theory. During the negotiations, he dared the board to fire him. But you’d take him to client meetings and most of the time you’d be exchanging looks with the C.E.O. The mystery shrouding Bruce Wasserstein’s death, last October, at 61, fit the billionaire investment banker’s M.O. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the United States Supreme Court officiated in her chambers. and/or its affiliates. Adds another former partner, “He was a horrible manager, because he was completely self-involved by the time he had gotten control of the firm.… You see that in the succession of marriages and children, and blowing Claude up, and marrying Chao, and having an affair with a business-school student and having a child out of wedlock. On February 19 it sold another 1.8 million or so shares for $66.3 million, and on March 16 Lazard filed a registration statement for the estate to sell another 7.6 million or so shares, worth around $282 million. He also received $41 million in compensation for 2007. Mr. Rosen has been engaged in international investment banking since 1972.

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