Lehman Brothers bankers who once feasted on champagne and caviar during boom times will have to settle for burgers and donuts this weekend as they mark a decade since the lender’s disastrous collapse.
A series of staff reunions in London, New York and Hong Kong commemorating the US bank’s collapse in 2008 will kick off in the coming days, but many will be low-key affairs devoid of the excess that once typified the industry.
Lavish parties are to be replaced by more modest get-togethers, with former Lehman staff kept on to help with the administration set to catch up over burgers and donuts.
Russell Downs, the lead administrator at PwC, told the Press Association: “Twenty people (are) working for me here and we will find an appropriate way to mark the 10 years next week but it will be low key and casual.
“It may be donuts, it may be Danish pastries, it may be a trip to get a burger at lunch, I don’t know but it will be low key and appropriate.”
A separate London meeting will take place on September 15 at a secret location, where hundreds of former workers have been invited to share cocktails and canapes.
News of the gatherings sparked fury earlier this year, with shadow chancellor John McDonnell branding them “sickening”.
One ex-Lehman banker, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Press Association: “I don‘t know where people get off saying what they have, we loved the bank.
“The coverage has really missed the point, some of it has been callous.
“Employees want to commemorate what was an important date in their lives. It was a sad day for us individually, employees at Lehman had close bonds.”
The failure of the US banking giant became one of the most infamous and shocking moments of the crisis, spiralling the credit crunch into full-blown market chaos.