The past few years have not been the best of times, professionally speaking, for Lloyd Blankfein. As CEO of Goldman Sachs, the shit storm of the financial crisis landed on his head and with it, angry protesters, 75-100 pieces of hate mail each day, lawsuits, investigations, hearings before the Congressional brain trust, calls for him to be fired and/or jailed, the title of "Worst Person in the World," executive MBA students who think they know how to run a bank better than he does, and half man/half horse semen aficionado Matt Taibbi.
While Lloyd is much loved within 200 West and among those who can't resist the Lloyd Face, the hate from the outside has been difficult to take. Though he's fully aware that "there's a little bit of 'for better or worse'" about a gig like his, and that "you can't be the CEO without having to do what the CEOs have to do in distressed moments," as Blankfein's college roommate puts it, not having coveted "a public persona," the "vilification makes him sad." He's not planning on leaving the firm any time soon but it's clear LB needs a pick me up. Sitting down with New York recently for some real talk, he floated a few wants/wishes that, if you care at about him at all, should do your part to help grant.
Some quiet time:
“What I’d like to have is a clear head,” Blankfein goes on. “I haven’t had a clear head in a while, to be honest. You know, I have the background noise of the investigations and the inquiries, or the kind of low roar of the crowd out there, or the press in the background who’s trying to find some gotcha thing they can write about. The thing I miss most is having a quiet head.”
For people to play by Mafia rules and back the shit off his wife:
Even now, he gets worked up talking about the “Page Six” item from a couple of years ago that claimed his wife, Laura, was acting “obnoxious” in the Hamptons. “That bugs me,” he says. “She’s like a civilian. And by the way, even the Mafia leaves wives alone. Does the mob go out and try to get someone’s wife because he finked on them? There’s a code. And how do you respond to it without giving people what they want? I mean, some of these pundits on TV say, ‘If Lloyd doesn’t like the dopey things I’m saying, let him come on my show and debate me.’ Yeah, you’d love me to do that. So, you’re really powerless.”
For people to familiarize themselves with sarcasm:
[Goldman] set up interviews with Vanity Fair and Van Praag’s hometown paper, the London Sunday Times...During the latter, the CEO learned the limits of his corny, self-effacing jokes. He’s just a banker “doing God’s work,” he tossed off as he was leaving the interview. That was around the time the nuns got interested.
For the opportunity to sing back-up vocals next time a certain someone comes to the Garden.:
By 16, he was already at Harvard, where he earned a reputation for his ability to memorize television jingles and popular songs. This, by the way, is a talent he still retains. “I was born this way,” Blankfein sings at the diner. “Born this way …” He recently attended a Lady Gaga concert with his 17-year-old daughter. “I am one with the popular culture,” he says.
For Charlie Gasparino to give up journalism to focus on becoming the next Mr. Universe.:
Charlie Gasparino reported this spring, that he’s “tired of running the company.” “I’m tired of Gasparino,” Blankfein shoots back. “I wish he would quit.”
For everyone to get over Goldman:
For now, Blankfein still enjoys the support of his crew.“Lloyd was the steady hand on the rudder,” Rogers calls to say. “People at the firm will tell you that one of our greatest fortunes heading into this was having Lloyd at the helm. And he shares that same level of support when it comes to helping chart the firm’s future.” It’s a future that Blankfein is looking forward to, as well. “We’re not just sitting here like, ‘I hope, I hope, I hope it blows over.’ ” he says. “But I hope it blows over.”
For a limited edition of his own flavor of Vitamin Water:
He also once met 50 Cent at a play, where they discussed “businessy things.” “He’s an impressive kid. And by the way, it’s Fitty Cent. Fitty.”