J. Gregory Milmoe of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom has a reputation for remaining calm. “While other people are all in the room yelling and getting mad at each other, he’s the person sitting there until they blow off steam,” says David Pauker, the chief restructuring officer of Refco Inc. That ability to keep cool served Milmoe well as Refco — one of the largest commodities brokerages in the country, and Milmoe’s client — melted down.

  • Dealmakers: Bankruptcy
  • On October 10, 2005, the company disclosed that its CEO, Phillip Bennett, had hidden $430 million of Refco’s bad debt, forcing the company to disavow three years’ worth of financial statements, and sending customers into a panic. Over the next year, Milmoe and the team at Skadden would be helping Refco sell assets and satisfy creditors.

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