Matt and Ben. Penn and Teller. Bert and Ernie. Gary and Lloyd. As those who keep up on the bromances of Wall Street know, Lloyd Blankfein and Gary Cohn are the absolute best of buds. While their relationship started out as a work thing back in 1990, when Cohn was hired as a metals trader and “became Blankfein’s corporate problem solver,” in the twenty plus years since it’s moved far beyond that to include hanging on weekends, family vacations, and wives who are also tight. According to a 2010 profile, Cohn isn’t so much LB’s righthand man as he is a part of him, having been introduced to people on at least one occasion as simply “Lloyd’s best friend.” And while their bond was no doubt strengthened by weathering the financial crisis and the Goldman haters together, as bosom buddies who are always there for each other and would do anything for one another, be it taking a bullet, donating a kidney, or just calling to talk about nothing, lately there has supposedly been a little friction.
Over the past several months, a simmering tension has been brewing between the pair of executives — a situation tied to Cohn’s frustration that his ascension to the top spot at Wall Street’s No. 1 firm will not happen in the near term, sources tell The Post. “Gary thinks it’s his time [to lead],” said one Goldman insider, speaking about the cooled relationship between the two finance-industry titans. Despite an outward appearance of a chummy and warm working relationship, the two are more often chilly toward each other as it’s becoming less likely that Blankfein, a former tax lawyer and commodities trader, will soon relinquish the Goldman CEO crown to Cohn — a title he believes he’s earned by serving as the bank’s No. 2 during the heart of the financial crisis…Meanwhile, Cohn is making efforts to differentiate himself from his longtime colleague. Those efforts include trying to downplay the fact that he, like Blankfein, rose from a trading background, and a move to play up his prowess as a manager of some of the firm’s 33,000 staffers. Some, however, have speculated that Cohn might exit Goldman, if he’s not granted the CEO title.
Not really helping? The people riling Cohn up by spreading “the view that he’s simply a taller version of Blankfein.” Former Goldman CEOs with time on their hands being the chief suspects.