Lloyd Blankfein

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Lloyd Blankfein : biography

September 20, 1954 –

With Blankfein at the helm, Goldman has also been criticized "by lawmakers and pundits for issues from its pay practices to its role in helping Greece mask the size of its debts". Blankfein testified before Congress in April 2010 at a hearing of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He said that Goldman Sachs had no moral or legal obligation to inform its clients it was betting against the products which they were buying from Goldman Sachs because it was not acting in a fiduciary role.

In April 2011, a Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report accused Goldman Sachs of misleading clients about complex mortgage-related investments in 2007, and Senator Carl Levin alleged that Blankfein misled Congress, though no perjury charges have been brought against Blankfein.

In August 2011, Goldman confirmed that Blankfein had hired high-profile defense lawyer Reid Weingarten, who had previously represented executives including former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers and former Enron accounting officer Richard Causey.Witkowski, Wallace,, MarketWatch, August 22, 2011. Retrieved August 23, 2011.

In November 2011, Blankfein was listed as #43 on Forbes Magazine’s List of The World’s Most Powerful People.

In March 2012, a former Goldman executive, Greg Smith, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times titled "Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs", in which he heavily criticized the firm’s top leadership and Blankfein in particular, writing "When the history books are written about Goldman Sachs, they may reflect that the current chief executive officer, Lloyd C. Blankfein, and the president, Gary D. Cohn, lost hold of the firm’s culture on their watch."

Smith’s op-ed was criticized by many, particularly because he worked at Goldman for 12 years before deciding to quit due to supposed moral objections, but also shed some light on the firm’s internal culture, stating, for example, that executives refer to unsophisticated clients as "muppets" and use a strategy of "elephant hunting" to systematically take advantage of their own clients. Commenting on Smith’s criticism of Blankfein for such seemingly unprincipled leadership, particularly after saying in a 2009 interview that the firm was "doing God’s work", comedian Stephen Colbert pointed out that Blankfein never specified which god, and speculated that it was perhaps Shiva, Lord of Destruction.

Life and career

Blankfein was born in the Bronx borough of New York City, to a Jewish family, and reared in the Linden Houses, a New York City Housing Authority project in the East New York section of Brooklyn. His father was a clerk with the U.S. Postal Service branch in the Manhattan borough of New York City and his mother was a receptionist. As a boy, he worked as a concession vendor at Yankee Stadium. He received primary and secondary education in the public schools of the New York City Department of Education, and was the valedictorian at Thomas Jefferson High School in 1971. He attended Harvard College, where he lived in Winthrop House, and earned his A.B. in 1975. In 1978, Blankfein received a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School.

Blankfein worked as a corporate tax lawyer for the law firm Donovan, Leisure, Newton & Irvine. In 1981, he joined Goldman’s commodities trading arm, J. Aron & Co., as a precious metals salesman in its London office.

He is the Gala Chairman of the Rockefeller family’s Asia Society in New York. He serves on the board of the Robin Hood Foundation, a charitable organization seeking to alleviate poverty in New York, and on the Board of Overseers of Weill Cornell Medical College.