Just a banker but often a PR disaster

Goldman Sachs has had several PR disasters in recent years, and chief executive Lloyd Blankfein has been at the centre of several of them.

Goldman Sachs has had several PR disasters in recent years, and chief executive Lloyd Blankfein has been at the centre of several of them.

In 2009, Mr Blankfein joked to The Times of London that he was just a banker "doing God's work". That was in the same year Rolling Stone magazine described Goldman Sachs as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money".

Mr Blankfein also had this to say about the amount of compensation Goldman Sachs staff received despite the financial crisis: "Is it possible to make too much money ... to have too much ambition? As the guardian of the interests of the shareholders and, by the way, for the purposes of society, I'd like them to continue to do what they are doing. I don't want to put a cap on their ambition. It's hard for me to argue for a cap on their compensation."

Mr Blankfein's appearances before the US Senate in 2010 have become legendary. It was there that he denied his investment bank had a moral obligation to tell its clients it was selling them complex financial products that it was also betting against. "I don't think we would have to disclose that," he told US senator Carl Levin.

Goldman Sachs has been running a charm offensive recently, with Mr Blankfein appearing more in public, with more off-the-cuff quips.

In Sydney on Friday, on how bond markets work: "Bankers may not mature, but debt matures."

On China's industrialisation: "If all you cared about was growth, you could leave those machines and old factories churning away, [but] if you care about breathing you'd better do some other things and sacrifice some growth in the short term."

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