PARIS (Reuters Life!) - French maths and computer science graduate Edouard d’Archimbaud thought he was about to start a lucrative and challenging career in finance when he walked through the doors of Lehman Brothers’ London offices a year ago.
Surprised to see crowds of journalists, staff and police in front of the building as he turned up for his first day on September 15, 2008, it was only once inside that d’Archimbaud realized he may as well not have got out of bed.
“I went into the building and then it was looking at the headline of the Financial Times that I got the news,” d’Archimbaud, now 25, told Reuters Television in an interview.
“I realized that there were some people from PriceWaterhouseCoopers. They were there to take Lehman Brothers in charge. That’s why I realized that it was the end, that everybody was fired.”
D’Archimbaud stayed in London a week while the chaos and shock surrounding the Lehman bankruptcy started to unfold before returning home to Paris to find a new job and rejoin the friends he had said goodbye to just weeks earlier.
D’Archimbaud had worked as an intern in a trading team at Lehman for three months during the summer, after which Lehman had offered him a job he was never able to start.
Now, after spending almost a year with Cheuvreux, a unit of French bank Credit Agricole, in Paris, d’Archimbaud said he is “beginning a new life” helping companies cut costs and avoid going bankrupt.
He decided to quit Cheuvreux a few weeks ago to work full-time for a start-up business with friends that provides software to enable companies to predict sales and save money.
“In a way, we help companies to take fewer risks,” said d’Archimbaud, the experience of Lehman still fresh in his mind.
Reporting by Lucien Libert, editing by Paul Casciato