Lazard CEO and New York Owner Bruce Wasserstein Dies

Bruce Wasserstein–hostile-takeover artist, chief of Lazard, owner of New York magazine, Harvard benefactor, brother of playwright Wendy Wasserstein–has died at 61. He was hospitalized last weekend for heart trouble.

Here’s some reaction from former associates.

Carl Icahn: “It’s sad, it’s a sad thing. He was a good friend and he was one of the few real bright guys on Wall Street. I always respected his views.”

Eric Gleacher: “Bruce had been a good friend since 1975. We worked many times together, sometimes on the same side of the table and other times on opposing sides. I remember him for his high level of integrity and big sense of humor more than for his tactical brilliance and the like. He was a great guy and I will miss him.”

Joseph Perella: “I am deeply saddened by the news of Bruce’s passing.  We have known each other for 33 years and were partners together for 16 years.  We accomplished a lot together.  Bruce was a rare talent and this is a great loss to Wall Street.  My heart goes out to Bruce’s family and his colleagues at Lazard.”

Jack Hennessy: “It’s a very sad event, and unexpected event. I did have the pleasure and the pain of working with Bruce. I was running the corporate finance department, the investment banking part of First Boston back in 1978. Bruce was from the start, a lawyer who we hired from Cravath. But he and his partner Joe Perella did change the practice and the technology of M&A. And Bruce went on to bigger and better things. He was the type of person who could really not work for anyone else, so it was sort of inevitable that he ended up having his own firm and in the end that’s what Lazard was. And I think they’ll miss him sorely.”

Martha Minow: “Bruce Wasserstein was one of our most brilliant and most influential graduates. His impact on modern finance is immeasurable, and so is his impact on the Harvard Law School. He and the Wasserstein family became beloved members of the Harvard Law School family through their long and continuing engagement with the school and extraordinary generosity. Bruce had an unwavering belief in what a Harvard Law School education can make possible not only to those who can pursue their dreams in and beyond law school, but also for those who use law to pursue justice. Bruce was particularly devoted to the Wasserstein Public Interest Fellows program, which honors outstanding public interest attorneys and engages in them in advising law students about public service careers. We will miss him terribly.”

–reporting by Molly Fischer and Reid Pillifant

Lazard CEO and New York Owner Bruce Wasserstein Dies