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13. The Bridge Player
James Cayne
Former CEO, Bear Stearns

The implosion of two Bear mortgage-related hedge funds in the summer of 2007 marked the beginning of the debt crisis.

Cayne, a championship bridge player, didn't play a very good hand in the months that followed, eventually stepping aside only to watch as a loss of confidence by investors and lenders took down his overleveraged firm and forced its shotgun marriage to JPMorgan Chase. Bear Stearns' demise cost Cayne $1 billion.

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Last updated August 06 2008: 6:26 PM ET
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