The CEO of Goldman Sachs doesn’t speak much, his last live TV appearance happened two years ago. When he does, though, he has a reason (and of course, people listen).Why has he chosen this most auspicious day to leave 200 West? We think Blankfein is going to express his feelings on Moody’s upcoming Wall Street ratings downgrade rampage.
Here we go…
The first real question asked? Greg Smith of course. “We’ve gotten used to surprises,” said Blankfein…”and of course we took it seriously.”
That said, he added, we wouldn’t have the client base we have if we didn’t treat them well. 90% of people who got job offers from us wouldn’t accept if that was the case.
Everyone in firm did a 360 review of everyone else. “We are obsessive about everyone soliciting everyone’s view,” he said.
On the board of directors:
Lloyd Blankfein says it makes “absolute sense” to have a combined Chairman and CEO role because that way there’s not a divided leadership authority.
Blankfein says there is a plan for succession, but that person might not know at the time.
“I have no plans to leave. I read the same papers you do. You may think they get it from me. I can tell you I have no idea where they get it from… this is a terrific job… I get to hang around some of the smartest people and deal with great clients… you know, it’s terrific.”
On size of the bank:
“We believe we are totally the right size,” he says.
“We try to out compete our competitors, but at same time when they are doing something better than anyone else we look at them and try to leapfrog over them.”
Blankfein says that new regulation is a challenge for the industry and the regulators.
“I don’t like every regulation. The idea that we have to have some sort of reform you can’t deny that.”
“We won’t like everything, but we’re engaged in the process and frankly it’s important for everybody.”
On politics and campaign donations:
“The institution doesn’t have a view and doesn’t participate in those. My email is filled with invitations to attend fundraisers for every party.”
Blankfein’s political view:
“I’m a Rockefeller Republican. I’m a registered Democrat….Conservative on fiscal issues and more liberal on social issues.”