It's good to see that Goldman Sachs PR man Lucas van Praag continues to take my advice of more than a year ago. One part of that advice was to put CEO Lloyd Blankfein only in front of journalists who don't understand finance, that way they can't play gotcha finance against Blankfein.
But Lucas needs to be a little more sensitive to the writing style of the interviewer. The one they recently chose, New York Mag's Jessica Pressler, clearly wouldn't be able to recognize a derivative from a banana peel, but she still appears to be part of the "get Goldman" camp. So in a profile of Blankfein, we end up learning such absurd things such as, Blankefein "an unfortunate resemblance to Austin Powers’s Dr. Evil." That he is "is pale and a little saggy around the middle, with no visible tail..."
That van Praag chuckles at Blankfein's jokes. That Blankfein, who runs the most money driven firm on the planet, is not money driven. That if someone’s father died, Blankfein would understand that person taking a personal day. That conducting personal communications over the company system is verboten, "although perhaps only at Goldman do compliance officers stage annual dramatic readings of their employees’ most embarrassing e-mails to drive the point home. ('Are you wearing lingerie, stuff like that,' the former employee says.)"
That at one point, Goldman’s slowness in paying veterinary bills on a litter of kittens found in the basement of its 200 West Street headquarters became international news.
That Goldmanite John Thornton was rumored to have once said that if a deal didn’t go through, "I will personally slit the throats of all my team and drink their blood."
Uh Lucas, do you see my point on how the tone of this story isn't just right?
But the bigger story here is that the Blankfein profile was done at all. Blankfein isn't the kind of guy that wants to waste time on nonsense like this. He must really think there is a chance he is going to lose his job. This was a desperate attempt to make Blankfein look human to the masses.