Godspeed to eSpeed

A CEO speaks from his heart

New York  September 20, 2001  I have always been fascinated by accounts of Londoners who lived during the Blitz. The world was in turmoil, the future was in question and the present was shattering, yet citizens with no military training still managed to go on with their lives amid the rubble. The resilience of the human spirit is well-represented by images of London housewives picking their way through devastation because, regardless of war, children have to eat breakfast, clothes have to be washed and life has to proceed.

I'm reminded of those stalwart Londoners as I see, on television and via the Internet, the images of equally stalwart New Yorkers pressing on with their work lives. Even as the business world moves toward something resembling normalcy, attempting to sort out coherent messages and trends from the discordant torrent of business data and analysis left in the fallout of the terror attacks, news continues to be released that reminds even the most hardened Wall Street warrior that there is a far more real world than that which splashes across a Web browser.

eSpeed, which operates electronic marketplaces including TradeSpark and is a division of Cantor Fitzgerald, one of the companies hardest hit last Tuesday, today issued the following statement by Chairman and CEO Howard Lutnick in regards to the members of the company's senior management team who were lost in the World Trade Center disaster:

"eSpeed has always been more than a team, or a vision, or even a company. At its heart eSpeed is a family. As a family, we mourn the losses of our siblings, our best friends  our partners. We cannot imagine work or life without them nor their vast array of qualities and characteristics that enhanced our lives.

"It is with great sadness that I write of some of the lost eSpeed senior management family.

Lutnick goes on to list lost members of the management team, including President Frederick Varacchi, Vice Chairman and Director Douglas Gardner and Glenn Kirwin, head of product development, as well as telling a short bit about each person. Of Varacchi, Lutnick says, His wife Eileen and their three children can always be proud of their father's accomplishments. Gardner is described as being so close to Lutnick that Together, we felt there was nothing we could not accomplish. Of Kirwin, Lutnick says, His understanding of the business and attention to detail was virtually unparalleled.

Here is the complete text of Lutnick's closing statement:

"We are dedicated to the more than 730 members of the eSpeed/Cantor Fitzgerald/TradeSpark family that were lost in the World Trade Center tragedy. All of our survivors are now bound together in a manner never seen before in business. We are a large family that has lost its brothers and sisters. There is no adversity our survivors cannot overcome. Our survivors reopened this company 47 hours after the attack. I cannot be more proud to be associated with this group of people. Godspeed to eSpeed  I love you."

It's Lutnick's unenviable task to keep a business on track while repairing devastation, even while providing comfort and leadership to those left behind. In a time of widespread faceless communication, he has listed his home number on eSpeed's Web site. Life, and business, will go on. The Londoners showed us that, and Lutnick and all others pressing on are latter-day embodiments of those folks who bought bread, and cleaned house, and raised kids, in spite of evil.