They say that Gary Cohn may not succeed Lloyd Blankfein because he’s too abrasive, and a little intimidating.
But Cohn’s friends say that he only acts that way when necessary, and in fact, it may be because he cares too much.
According to Max Abelson and Christine Harper, who profiled Cohn for Bloomberg, a friend of Cohn’s explained:
If something is not right, sometimes he has trouble letting it go: If someone slights his kid, someone does something in business that he doesn’t like. He has high expectations for people. I think he just gets disappointed.
At the moment, however, if you do “slight his kid,” Cohn’s preferred method of punishment is the tried and tested schoolyard technique of completely ignoring people who have done you wrong:
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.
But the Goldman president hasn’t always been a silent treatment practitioner. Back in the day, he was more in your face, according to Bloomberg:
Cohn, 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, can be intimidating, two former colleagues said. He would sometimes hike up one leg, plant his foot on a trader’s desk, his thigh close to the employee’s face, and ask how markets were doing, they said.
That makes sense. A source once described to us the fear inspired on the Goldman Sachs trading floor when president and COO Cohn walks through it. Nay… storming through it.