Bear Stearns CEO Forced Out By Angry Shareholders, Common Sense

Bear Stearns CEO James Cayne is expected to step down as CEO due to pressure by pissed off shareholders , reports the Wall Street Journal.

James Cayne, the chairman and chief executive of Bear Stearns Cos., under fire from shareholders since the Wall Street firm was badly burned by the downturn in the mortgage market, is stepping down as CEO, say people familiar with the matter.

Bear Stearns’s stock has lost more than half its value in the past year, and some directors had been privately discussing Mr. Cayne’s departure. They had been hoping that he would take the initiative and resign, but didn’t want to pressure him, given his long service to the firm, say people familiar with their thinking.

“He thought about it, and the board thought about it, and they agreed it was time to pass the baton,” says one person familiar with the deliberations.

At least one major shareholder has been calling for Cayne’s head, said the WSJ. Mr. Cayne will join the former CEOs of Citibank, Merrill Lynch & Co., UBS, and H&R Block on the list of casualties attributed to the subprime meltdown. The Wikipedia entry on Mr. Cayne claims that he is a world class bridge player and suggests that he enjoys smoking marijuana. We wish him luck in his future endeavors.

Cayne to Step Down As Bear Stearns CEO [Wall Street Journal]
(Photo:AP Photo/HO/Bear Stearns Cos. Inc.)