Lloyd Blankfein has apparently polished more than his appearance since he first arrived on the Goldman Sachs scene all those years ago.
Apart from losing 50 pounds and giving up cigarettes, he has also changed his verbal manner and mannerisms, according to insiders.
He’s still funny, but in a different way they say.
Yep, Blankfein has gone from raw to refined.
In a new book about the financial collapse, All the Devils Are Here, it turns out that the Goldman chief used to be the king of razor-sharp repartee and jocularity, but made an effort to tone it down as he rose swiftly up the corporate ladder.
“[Blankfein] repurposed his rapier-sharp wit into an engaging, self-deprecating sense of humour. Says a former Goldman trader: “Lloyd got really refined, but he used to be just a killer.”
We’re not sure exactly what killer means, but we would love to see some Lloyd gags in action.
Unfortunately, he is far more deferential and contained now when he’s dealing with colleagues and peers.
At a dinner party in 2008, for example, Hank Paulson was in the midst of explaining to a posse of CEOs that the treasury’s actions would be good for a skittish market; Lloyd disagreed, and he had something to say about it.
But before he did, he raised his hand, like a well-behaved student. “Hank, I don’t mean to be disrespectful…” he began, before making his case.
If it had been the other way around, we doubt Paulson would have put up his hand before he started a counterattack.
McLean and Nocera (the authors of All the Devils Are Here) write that Paulson was reportedly “direct to a fault, utterly lacking the verbal slickness that dissembling requires” and that his successor “had all the verbal dexterity Paulson lacked.”
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