Gary Cohn

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. Read more »

Greg Smith is a Goldman Sachs “executive director” and “head of equity derivatives” in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. And, as you may have heard, today is his last day at the firm. Greg had a speech prepared for the big announcement, which he stayed up all night writing and planned to deliver on the trading floor at noon, but assuming security has other ideas, we volunteered to relay his story. A word of advice: brace yourselves.

Why is Greg resigning from Goldman Sachs? To understand why he’s leaving, you have to know what it was like when he got here, twelve years ago.

It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years. It wasn’t just about making money; this alone will not sustain a firm for so long. It had something to do with pride and belief in the organization.

For a while, Greg loved Goldman Sachs! And the feeling was mutual, otherwise they obviously would not have bestowed him the great honor of being “selected as one of 10 people (out of a firm of more than 30,000) to appear on the recruiting video, which is played on every college campus we visit around the world.” Shortly after the cameras rolled and he got his star turn, though, things began to change. And not in a good way. Greg suddenly noticed that the culture that made him “love working for this firm” was gone. He no longer had “the pride, or the belief.” The moment of truth? When he realized he “could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work.” It didn’t matter how great a performance he gave in those videos. It didn’t matter that audiences would ask if he really worked for Goldman or if they’d hired an actor, as he appeared to have been classically trained. It didn’t matter that his recruiting DVD had been nominated for several trade awards. It didn’t matter because Greg had seen too much. Read more »

Lloyd Blankfein may step down as chief executive of Goldman Sachs as early as this summer; and president and chief operating officer Gary Cohn is the lead candidate to replace him, according to a Goldman executive and a source close to the firm. A Goldman spokesman declined to comment. To be sure, anything can happen over the course of the next few months and the departure of Blankfein, 57, is not certain. It is still up in the air whether Blankfein wants to step down. It would also not be unheard of for Blankfein to share the role of CEO, as so many others at Goldman have in the past. Former co-heads include John Weinberg and John Whitehead; Robert Rubin and Stephen Friedman; and Jon Corzine and Henry Paulson. … It seems increasingly certain that Gary Cohn would replace Blankfein. [Fortune, earlier, earlier]

Cohn recently told a colleague he can’t remember the last person he yelled at, and when upset with someone he now gives the silent treatment, the colleague said. [Bloomberg]

Once, five times, same diff no diff. Read more »

  • 28 Jan 2011 at 4:45 PM

Goldman Sachs Tosses Blankfein Some Change

Lloyd’s base salary has been raised from $600,000 to $2 million, according to the firm’s latest filing. Wingman Gary Cohn got bumped from $600,000 to $1.85 million.

At a panel yesterday in Davos, Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn, perhaps testing out a few new jokes he’s hoping to use at the Laugh Factory‘s open mic night next week, made several interesting statements. The first was his reason for why banks shouldn’t be subject to greater regulation.

Mr. Cohn warned that greater regulation of banks would push risky activities into the “shadow banking sector” which he said was “less regulated” and “opaque.”

Mind you, we have no reason to assume Gary was saying any of this out of self-interest. He’ll have you know Goldman Sachs LOVES regulation. The more the better. He’s just doesn’t want Goldman and the other banks to be selfish and take more than they need when there are others who could really benefit from increased supervision, like the “unregulated” businesses that apparently caused the last financial crisis and might cause another, if we’re not careful.

“What I most worry about,” said Mr Cohn, “is that in the next cycle, as the regulatory pendulum swings, we are going to have to use taxpayer money to bail out unregulated businesses that, unlike the banks in the last crisis, may not be able to repay them.”

He continued. Read more »