Wasserstein's Death Triggers $188M Payout

Lazard chief to go down as one of history's richest bankers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2009 4:17 AM CDT
Bruce Wasserstein, Chairman and CEO of Lazard Ltd. speaks at a news conference in New York. Wasserstein died Wednesday aged 61.   (AP Photo/Shiho Fukada, file)

(Newser) – It'll take more than just death to stop legendary Wall Street dealmaker Bruce Wasserstein making money. The Lazard chief's death on Wednesday triggered the vesting of $188 million in stock options, swelling a fortune recently estimated at $2.2 billion and cementing his status as one of the highest-paid bankers in history. Wasserstein was ranked 147th on the latest Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans.

Wasserstein—known in the financial world as "Bid 'Em Up Bruce"—was paid $20.8 million a year, millions more than the combined salaries of the four most senior Lazard execs beneath him, the Wall Street Journal notes. Insiders at the investment bank say Wasserstein's replacement will probably come from within the company, with interim chief Steven Golub seen as the likeliest candidate.