In the midst of a crisis with so much to write and think about, it seems a waste of time to spend as much time and effort on Citi board member Robert Rubin. Yet after a particularly critical article about him in the Wall Street Journal he does seem to be all that is on anyone’s mind.
Rubin, as you may recall is the former investment banker who became Clinton’s Secretary of the Treasury and was heavily involved in helping steer through the Mexican Peso crisis and the failure of the hedge fund LTCM. By all accounts a rich man who had some notable achievements and then retired-sort of-to Citi’s board where he made about $100 million over the past few years acting as a rainmaker and fixer for the bank.
After Greenspan, Rubin seemed to be one of the guys that the knives were out to get. During the last few weeks there has been an uptick in anti-Rubin articles hinting at culpability for this and that. The the WSJ article hit and the vitrol has been flowing. To say the criticism has been sharp would be understatement indeed. Not to single him out but just to provide an example of the harshness of the criticism consider this from The Big Picture, “ Thus, today Mr. Rubin officially gets moved out of the column of intellectual heavyweights, and into the big “just as full shit as the rest of them” pile. No pulled punches there.
I have no idea what is driving the tidal wave of criticism. No doubt Mr. Rubin deserves some blame for the fortunes of Citibank and perhaps even had a hand in shaping some of the policies that led to the current state of affairs. Still, he is only one man and it is beyond being hard to understand how anyone could believe that he is one of the principal architects of this meltdown. In the end, he’s a guy who had a pretty remarkable life, made a lot of money, did some good things and like all of us made a few mistakes.
Guys, you’ve beaten him down to the ground, it’s time to stop kicking him.