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]
Lucas Van Praag
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 »
Will Lucas van Praag’s Rebuttal To The Preposterous Claim Goldman Sachs Is To Blame For The Food Crisis Get The Carnival Barkers Out Of His Hair?By Bess Levin
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.
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 »
Perhaps some of you remember Jon Winkelried? The former Goldman Sachs co-president is persona non grata at the firm but for the purposes of context, a quick refresh: Winkelried was the good for nothing prick who abandoned Lloyd Blankfein when the CEO needed him most, and when it would look most bad for the company to have a high level departure (circa the shit hitting the fan era). A traitorous shrew, really, who let deaf ears fall on Blankfein’s pleas to stay, and who traded it all in for a bunch of barnyard animals.
Anywho, Goldman ended up getting on just fine with out he whose name shall not be mentioned, got on great in fact, but his actions did leave a lasting mark on Blankfein, namely that he lost the ability to open up and trust high level execs and that his previously dormant abandonment issues flared up like nobody’s business. So when there was talk of Goldman CFO David “Bones” Viniar retiring, Lloyd naturally panicked. But apparently it was for naught. Bones would never do that to his li’l fella. Read more »
Given that he’s a celebrity spokesman, most of you should be aware of Lucas Van Praag’s pedigree by now. The mouth of Goldman Sachs was born and raised in England, graduated from the University of Durham, and prior to entering the world of PR, learned a most important life skill as a Navy officer: how to kill a man. But now that his guns have been taken away, how does manage to issue such blistering, withering statements, day after day, hour after hour, that make his opponents want to curl up and die and translated from their original old English mean approximately “I can’t believe I’m forced to exist in the same airspace as you” and “kiss my ass and suck my dick, everyone”? Obviously devastating superciliousness is innate skill but it turns out LvP does have a source of power we’ve been unaware of up until this point. Any ideas? If you guessed cock ring, I can understand where you’re coming from. Most Masters of the Universe have a c-ring on at any given time during business hours. But no, because Lucas’s is a bit more genteel than that, and also, he doesn’t have time to be zipping and unzipping all day when reporters come a’ calling to kiss it before proceeding with questions.
Earlier this morning we mentioned a story by the Sunday Times which claimed, according to “bankers at Davos,” that Lloyd Blankfein would be taking home a $100 million bonus this year. We asked Goldman Sachs spokesman Lucas Van Praag for his thoughts on the report. His short answer, via Larry Summers, can be found here. And the slightly longer version:
“There’s speculation, and there is stupidity. This speculation transcends the simply stupid and takes it to an entirely new level.”