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In August 2008 I was advising Lehman Brothers on plans to offload some surplus office space at its Canary Wharf European headquarters – and something was very wrong.

The client, a global investment banking titan, seemed short of money.

I had suggested a £100,000-£120,000 marketing budget to help Lehman fill these offices – a drop in the ocean for a company with $639bn (£498bn) in assets, and a seemingly straightforward investment to help it generate some rent from an empty part of its building....

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