Mike Cavanagh, the Battle-Hardened Finance Chief, Takes on His Next Crisis
The NBCUniversal exec seizes control after Comcast sacked Jeff Shell for sexual misconduct. Almost 15 years ago, he guided JPMorgan' s stunning takeover of Bear Stearns as Wall Street burned.
Michael Cavanagh, operating on little sleep, was inside JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s war room on the March 2008 weekend when the Federal Reserve gave the OK to acquire Bear Stearns for $2 a share. It was a Hail Mary pass to save the global banking system from collapse.
“I’ve been working about 48-hours straight,” Cavanagh told reporters during a frantic Sunday night briefing after the bank announced a $236 million deal to scoop up the distressed investment house once valued at $20 billion. He then calmly walked through the logistics, seemingly unflappable despite the breakneck pace of government intervention and wild stock market gyrations. “There’s still a lot of work to be done,” he said at the time.
Cavanagh is no stranger working under stressful situations. He had a front-row seat during the global financial system collapse fifteen years ago, and now the 54-year-old Comcast executive is using those life lessons to navigate the entertainment industry’s new landscape. His job: Circumvent the cable giant from a downturn triggered by streaming.
“Think of me being here for a while,” Cavanagh, the CFO turned studio chief, said on Monday during the company’s first-quarter financial report.
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