LONDON, September 18, 2008 (AFP) – When Edouard d’Archimbaud, 24, arrived at Lehman Brothers offices in London on Monday he was hoping his move to the British capital would hail the start of a lucrative career in finance.
Sadly, it was not to be. The young Parisian, who had struggled to arrive in time for his first day because of a fire in the Channel Tunnel, did not even reach his desk before he was told that the US investment giant had collapsed.
“My team laughed when they saw me arrive on Monday morning,” said d’Archimbaud, who has a post-graduate degree in artificial intelligence and financial mathematics.
“Everyone was standing around, with an air of defeat, and no one really knew what was going on. They were asking if they would be paid.”
He told AFP that he had known the situation at Lehman was not good, but had no idea of the scale of the crisis facing the bank, which filed bankruptcy on Monday after failing to find a buyer who would take it over.
The collapse sparked turmoil in financial markets across the world, and thousands of Lehman staff left their offices in New York and London that day in dismay, with no idea of what they would do or whether they would be paid.