For some of Wall Street's most seasoned players, the crises change - but the game remains the same
By Josh Friedlander
In April, the four managing members of Ramius Capital Group met in the office of founder Peter Cohen and decided it was time to accelerate the deleveraging of the firm: returning all the money Ramius had borrowed from brokerage firms. "What we saw going on around us - private equity deals, leverage in real estate, covenant-light deals - we saw the world galloping out of control," says Cohen, the former chief executive of Shearson Lehman Hutton and onetime right-hand man to Sandy Weill.
Cohen, 61, and his fellow Ramius partners had been through enough market cycles to recognize that the party couldn't go on forever. During the 1980s, Tom Strauss, 65, who runs the firm's funds of funds, was president of Salomon Brothers, and Morgan Stark, 68, was president and chief executive...