Jimmy Cayne is the former CEO of Bear Stearns and world class bridge player. The son of a patent attorney, Cayne grew up in Evanston, IL and attended Purdue University. He left one semester shy of graduating to join the army.Cayne left an unsuccessful marriage in Chicago to move to New York in 1964. While in Chicago he had driven a cab and sold scrap metal for a living. While playing bridge in Manhattan he again drove a cab, and worked in sales Lubenthal and Co. selling municipal bonds. Cayne won his first national bridge tournament in 1966. He has since won over a dozen North American championships.
Having been hired by Alan ‘Ace’ Greenberg, Cayne started working as a stockbroker at Bear Stearns in 1969. Bear Stearns was founded in 1923 by Joseph Bear, Robert Stearns and Harold Mayer. Cayne combined his bridge connections and sharp sales skills to become a highly successful broker, rising rapidly in the firm.
He played bridge after work with Ace Greenberg, Laurence Tisch and Milton Petrie at the Regency Whist Club on Manhattan’s East Side. Warren Buffett and Malcolm Forbes sometimes played on the same team. Cayne became president of Bear Stearns in 1985, CEO in 1993 and chairman of the board in 2001. Cayne attracted controversy while playing in a bridge tournament in Detroit in 2008 during Bear Stearns slide toward bankruptcy. Beginning in 2007, Bear Stearns was severly affected by the subprime mortgage crisis. Two of Bear Stearns highly leveraged funds run by Ralph Cioffi blew up in 2008. In 2005, Forbes ranked him as the 384th richest American with an estimated fortune of $900 million. Cayne ultimately lost hundreds of millions of net worth as a result of the failure of Bear Stearns and sold his stake in the compay for $61 million.
Bear Stearns was the fifth largest securities firm in the US – and one of the largest investment banks in the world, prior to it’s sale to JP Morgan Chase. JP Morgan Chase ultimately acquired Bear Stearns in May 2008 at the renegotiated price of $10 per share. In November 2007, the Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, reported that Cayne smoked marijuana at the end of bridge tournaments as well as privately. Cayne strenuously denied the pot smoking allegations. Cayne met his second wife, Patricia Denner at a bridge club. Their daughter Alison is married to former hedge fund manager Jack Schneider.