All things 9/11
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Howard William Lutnick (born July 14, 1961) is an American billionaire businessman, who succeeded Bernard Gerald Cantor as the head of Cantor Fitzgerald. Lutnick is the chairman and CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald and BGC Partners. After losing 658 employees, including his brother, in the September 11 attacks, Lutnick has become known for his charity efforts through the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, which helps to aid families of the attacks and natural disasters.
At the time of the September 11 Attacks, Cantor Fitzgerald's offices occupied the 101-105th floors in the World Trade Center's North Tower, just above where a hijacked plane hit the building. None of the employees who were in the Cantor offices that morning survived the attacks. In total, 658 of Cantor's 960 employees died that day, including Lutnick's brother Gary Lutnick. Lutnick himself would have been in the office as well that morning, but on September 11 he was taking his son Kyle to his first day of kindergarten.
In a short time after the attacks, Lutnick made several public appearances, and quickly became one of the most iconic figures from September 11.
Because Cantor Fitzgerald lost two-thirds of its workforce, the company was in a vulnerable state, and many observers expected them to close. Four days after the attacks, on September 15, Lutnick announced amid much controversy, that he would have to stop the paychecks of nearly 700 employees who were missing or had died.
In a televised interview with CNN's Larry King on September 19, Lutnick addressed the issue, saying “I lost everybody in the company… I don't have any money to pay their salaries.” In that same interview, Lutnick went on to say that while paychecks had been stopped, families of Cantor employees who had died in the attack would receive a 25% share of future Cantor profits for five years as well as health insurance for the next ten years. Combined, this package totaled more than $100,000 for each family.
In 2006, the firm donated $180 million to the relatives of their employees affected by the 9/11 attack.
In recent years, Lutnick has been featured in events and specials relating to September 11, including the documentary “Out of the Clear Blue Sky” by director Danielle Gardner. The movie theater version prominently featured Mount Hebron Cemetery in Queens, NY. In the DVD version a large portion of cemetery footage and storytelling has been edited out. The cemetery has a clear view of Manhattan including the World Trade Center Towers and current One World Trade Center.
Global Charity Day
Each year on September 11 (or the business day closest to September 11 if that day falls on a weekend), Cantor Fitzgerald and its affiliate BGC Partners hold a Global Charity Day event and pledge 100 percent of the day's revenue to charity. Since 2005, Global Charity Day events have raised approximately $113 million. Celebrities, sports stars and other notable individuals take part in the event on Cantor's and BGC's trading floors by speaking with clients throughout the day. Previous event participants have included President George Bush, President Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Lady Gaga, Venus Williams, Eli Manning, Susan Sarandon, and Prince Harry, who holds the record for the largest single Global Charity Day trade.