Currently an executive chairman of Guggenheim Partners LLC, Schwartz is famously known as the last CEO of Bear Stearns before its acquisition by JPMorgan Chase in 2008—a sharp fall that would prove catalyst to the 2008 Wall Street risk management meltdown and corresponding global financial crisis.
Schwartz attended Duke University, where he pitched Varsity baseball as a scholarship athlete, and made the academic honor role (three times). He was destined for greatness after being drafted by the Cincinnati Reds, but an elbow injury forced him out of the game early. In 1976 he joined Bear Sterns, and by 1985 he was head of investment banking. He became co-president and co-COO in 2001, and sole president and COO in August 2007 after former favorite Warren Spector was forced to resign (Spector had previously been the front-runner to replace Jimmy Cayne, but resigned after the collapse of two hedge funds). When Schwartz took over stocks had fallen from $172 to $71 per share, and it was Schwartz' job to remedy the situation. The opposite happened. Bear Sterns already had billions in toxic assets, and Schwartz negotiated the sale of the 85-year-old investment banking firm to JPMorgan Chase for $10 per share. By March 16, 3008 stocks had dropped from $71 to $5.33.
In an effort to salvage his reputation and rewrite himself out of 2008's financial Doomsday equation, he headed to Guggenheim Partners (launched by Peter Lawston-Johnston II—great grandson of Solomon Guggenheim) and took the reins. With over 100 billion in holdings at Guggenheim, Schwartz is poised to make a financial comeback by focusing the firm on investment banking and securities.
Schwartz lives in Greenwich, Connecticut with his wife Nancy Seaman, chairman of Houlihan Lawrence Realty Corporation. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Visitors at Fuqua School of Business at Duke.
[Image via Getty]