Robert Moffat, senior vice president of IBM systems and technology group, was recently arrested by the FBI for conspiracy involving insider trading. The arrest sent shock ways through Wall Street exposing illicit, back channel dealings between prominent high tech executives and hedge fund managers. My information comes directly from Fortune Magazine, also seemingly shocked by it all, and reminding me of the policeman character in Casablanca played by Claude Rains who closes Rick’s Café by telling Humphrey Bogart, “I’m shocked, shocked to find out that gambling is going on here.”
Robert Moffat apparently was a hard working and respected executive considered a potential successor for CEO at IBM. The Fortune article describes him as a numbers cruncher, former Eagle Scout, and a man weighing in at 6-foot-2 and 265 pounds – a solid guy on all fronts. He had become sexually involved with a woman who worked for a hedge fund and she was quoted saying that trading business information was for her “like an orgasm.” The tale becomes more complicated as she was in love with her married hedge fund boss but it didn’t work out. Shocking.
One of Moffat’s attorney colleagues summed it up best: “There was no planet on which I could have understood what was being said about Bob. I just shut down.”
So we have insider trading among millionaires and billionaires, an Eagle Scout who seems to have it all risking everything, a woman who finds stimulation rubbing shoulders (at least) with powerful men, and another man who simply cannot comprehend how a straight shooter like Bob could go wrong. Well, there certainly is a lot to be shocked about. What we have here is a collective collapse. Most disturbing to me is the notion expressed by Bob’s colleague that he knows of no planet to understand what happened?