“Rodgin Cohen on Decade's End” (The Deal)

November 4, 2009
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SULLIVAN & CROMWELL LLP Chairman Rodge Cohen was interviewed by The Deal in its “Decade of the Deal” series. Mr. Cohen spoke to the challenges and stresses posed by last year’s economic downturn, noting that one crisis continually led to another. As he said, “It was an extremely wrenching experience, you just move from crisis to crisis and we were extremely fortunate. Mistakes were made, but if we had not had the decisive and resolute leadership coming out of the Federal Reserve…I am convinced we would have been plunged into a 1929/33-type financial cataclysm.” Mr. Cohen also discussed what he believes to be the starting point of the downturn, citing the August 2007 near-failure of Countrywide Financial Corp. (later taken over by Bank of America Corp.), and the spiral of events that followed. “Had it [Countrywide] failed, which was a distinct possibility that evening, the risks to the whole system were really great. That was the first time that I can remember putting in a frantic call to the government the next morning.”