Lucas Van Praag

  • 18 Oct 2012 at 6:53 PM

The Doctor Will See You Now

Goldman Sachs’ former p.r. chieftain, Lucas van Praag, is hanging out his shingle, The Post has learned. The silver-tongued spokesman — known for his deft handling of the press and delivering withering rebuttals to critics during his 12-year stint at the bank — is launching LvP & Associates in Midtown, according to sources. The 62-year-old van Praag, who was replaced by former Treasury Secretary adviser Jake Siewert in March, will dole out advice to financial firms and other companies seeking crisis management and help navigating reputational risk…During his tenure at Goldman, starting in 2000, van Praag held onto his upper-crust British accent and routinely conjured up terms like “effluent” and “chimera” in sometimes testy exchanges with journalists. Still, the press rep was highly regarded for his grasp of complex markets as well as for his Goldman pedigree. [NYP]

Back in March, a young man named Greg Smith published an Op-Ed in the Times called “Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs.” Greg wrote that despite joining a firm that, in the beginning, cared about “teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by clients” and not “just about making money,” he’d ultimately come to be sickened by a place that, twelve years later, he couldn’t even recognize. A place that, on Lloyd Blankfein and Gary Cohn’s watch, had lost its way. A place that, he’d come to see, was devoid of any sort of morals, whatsoever. A place that needed to take a long hard look at what it had become. A place that, he predicted, was not long for this earth. Because unlike Smith, whose proudest moments in life– “being selected as a Rhodes Scholar national finalist and winning a bronze medal for table tennis at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, known as the Jewish Olympics,” respectively– involved hard work and no short cuts, “Goldman Sachs today,” Smith wrote, is all “about the shortcuts and not enough about achievements.” Goldman Sachs 2.o, one might say, hasn’t worked an honest day in its life and that didn’t feel right to Smith anymore.

The piece, which was said to come as shock to Goldman, did not please many people on the inside, nor did the $1.5 million deal Smith scored shortly thereafter to write Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story, out October 22. Here’s how Greg’s publisher describes WILGS:

From the shenanigans of his summer internship during the technology bubble to Las Vegas hot tubs and the excesses of the real estate boom; from the career lifeline he received from an NFL Hall of Famer during the bear market to the day Warren Buffett came to save Goldman Sachs from extinction-Smith will take the reader on his personal journey through the firm, and bring us inside the world’s most powerful bank.

And while higher-ups at GS may have been initially worried about the potentially damaging revelations that would appear in the book, apparently time, a slap in the face and an order to ‘get it together you pustulant milquetoasts’ by the ghost of Lucas van Praag has resulted in this delightfully bitchy, exceptionally underminery comment from 200 West: Read more »

  • 08 Feb 2012 at 10:30 AM

Good Night, Sweet Prince

After 12 years of outstanding service, Lucas van Praag, global head of Corporate Communications, will retire from the firm at the end of March. We are pleased that Lucas will continue to provide strategic advice as a consultant to Goldman Sachs…Lucas has played a critical role in helping the firm navigate through one of the most difficult and testing environments the firm has faced, particularly during the recent financial crisis and its aftermath. His strategic counsel and deep understanding of complex issues defined his career at the firm as did his warmth, natural inclusiveness and determination in the face of relentless demands. The countless hours he spent with external constituencies was matched by the time and attention he committed to all of us, explaining and engaging on important issues and trends. Lucas was a tireless advocate and we are pleased that we will continue to benefit from his judgment and experience. Please join us in thanking Lucas for his extraordinary contributions to the firm and wishing him, Miranda and their family the best in the future. [Deal Journal, earlier]

Earlier today, some fairly distressing news came out of Goldman Sachs– according to three different people “familiar with the matter,” the bank “may” hire Richard “Jake” Siewert Jr. for “a role similar to the one held by Lucas van Praag.” While we’d love to plug our ears and pretend this isn’t happening, the reality is that it was clearly leaked from the inside and is happening indeed. Though it’s possible Goldman would allow Lucas to hang around the office a bit longer, our beloved spokesman has got a lot more pride than that. If his unique flavor isn’t appreciated, if telling reporters that their stories are “extraordinarily ill-informed,” “nonsense,” “stupid,” indicative of a failure “to comprehend the subject matter,” and/or reminiscent of “effluent” is all of a sudden not okay, if they want to take a more collaborative (read: limp-wristed) approach with the press, then let them. Van Praag’s got better things to do with his time. Read more »

  • 27 Jul 2011 at 5:14 PM

Step Into Lucas Van Praag’s Office

On the shelf in his office, there are no visible Polaroids, but Lucas van Praag does have a rubber squid that someone gave him as a gift. It is perched on top of a small toy boat. [NYMag, earlier]

Or will he be forced to get fellow vegan Natalie Portman to vouch for him? (That photo of LVP up to his elbows in ribs at Dinosaur BBQ was a fake!)

Don’t Blame Goldman Sachs for the Food Crisis: Blame the meat-loving middle class.

By Lucas Van Praag

Frederick Kaufman’s article “How Goldman Sachs Created the Food Crisis,” ignores a number of important facts about the underlying economic, social, and political factors that have driven the rise in food prices.

Read more »

A very wise, British-born, not banker but nevertheless partner of Goldman Sachs tasked with dealing with the firm’s image once lamented, “Jamie Dimon tells the government to wank off and the public calls him oh so spirited. Would life change for me if Lloyd wore lifts?” The Masters of the Universe aren’t usually ones to whine (or give a baker’s fuck about what the public thinks) but honestly, what the hell? Why is it that when Goldman has some maybe non-consensual relations with the economy it’s not okay but when JPMorgan does they’re the best bank in the world? How is it that Goldman can somehow get blamed when a kid in Akron, Ohio kicks a puppy but senior management at JPMorgan picks up where Michael Vick left off and they’re just having some fun? Or Lloyd Blankfein is a monster for passing a hobo and only giving him a dollar (when he made so much more last year) but Jamie Dimon rapes the same hobo after helping himself to some change and he’s “just being affectionate.” It’s just not fair and it makes no sense, have come the wails from within 200 West.

The double-standard struck the most sensitive nerve, of course, immediately following the crisis when the hate for Lloyd and GS versus the perceived love for James was so great Goldman’s board considered asking LB to wear a Jamie mask “just in public, or when addressing large groups of people, reporters, etc.” So we were interested to find out if the public’s perception of JD v. LB still chapped some Goldman hide now that things have calmed down a bit. Turns out it does. Read more »

First off, this is not some absurd idea we came up with on our own. At an event in London this afternoon, Fiona Laffan, Goldman Sach’s head of media relations in Europe said that the bank is tossing around the idea of 1) advertising on TV and 2) Blankfein appearing on Oprah’s couch. Read more »