Was there ever a time when Goldman Sachs was more, um, ethical and client-centric than greedy and profit-driven, as its reputation now suggests? That’s debatable, but whatever its previous corporate ethos might have been, all signs point to Goldman’s current chairman and CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, as the major driving force behind the firm’s push for building bigger profits quicker these days. —KA
The New York Times:
Mr. Blankfein has surrounded himself with a tight circle of executives drawn from Goldman’s trading operation. Many of these executives, like Mr. Blankfein, cut their teeth in the commodities division, J. Aron & Company. Gary D. Cohn, Goldman’s president, as well as the heads of the bank’s asset management division, are J. Aron alumni. So is the head of human resources.
With the traders ascendant, Goldman’s bankers are being urged to generate bigger profits. In what former partners called a significant shift, Goldman now uses “profiles” to track how much money its bankers are bringing in.
Granted, money is what makes Wall Street run, and Goldman Sachs is no exception.
“I don’t buy the argument that the old Goldman was more principled and less greedy,” said Arthur Levitt, a Goldman adviser and former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
But even Goldman concedes it is changing with the times. “This business is all about serving clients, and if you don’t evolve, you die,” said Lucas van Praag, a Goldman spokesman.
AP / Mark Lennihan
Since Lloyd Blankfein, right, shown in 2008, became leader of Goldman Sachs, the firm’s balance of power has favored the traders rather than the investment bankers.