If you want to be further outraged by the antics of former NJ governor Jon Corzine, whose leadership of brokerage MF Global essentially resulted in its collapse (and there's still a billion dollars in client funds missing!), read this NY Times feature, titled, "A Romance With Risk That Brought On a Panic." But romance is too pretty a word: "He pushed through a $6.3 billion bet on European debt — a wager big enough to wipe out the firm five times over if it went bad — despite concerns from other executives and board members. And it is now clear that he personally lobbied regulators and auditors about the strategy."
Corzine, former Goldman Sachs head, is described as a sweater vest-wearing, avuncular figure and "popular manager" who "often started his day with a five-mile run, landing in the office by 6 a.m. and was regularly the last person to leave the office." Also, "unusually for a chief executive, he became a core member of the group that traded using the firm’s money. His profits and losses appeared on a separate line in documents with his initials: JSC." He did, famously, lobby the government not to curb risky trades.
Reuters' Felix Salmon read the article and writes, "Now it’s looking increasingly as though Corzine demonstrated virtually all of the pathologies of the rogue trader more generally," and describes the four qualities of a "rogue trader": "they develop an ability to circumvent risk-management controls; they aspire to be recognized as a star trader making huge amounts of money for the firm; they tend to arrive earlier and leave later than anybody else, as they jealously guard their trades; and they panic when losses start appearing, doing things which are downright illegal in the process." He's also aghast at Corzine's trades at MF Global, "Does this happen elsewhere? Are there other brokerages where the CEO has his own personal P&L line in the trading books? Citadel, perhaps. But this is not a good idea. You want the CEO encouraging the rest of the trading desk, not competing with them. "