David Solomon and Lloyd Blankfein. Click the image to watch the video. Source: Goldman Sachs
In a somewhat one-sided chat with his replacement David Solomon, the outgoing Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein described how much he was looking forward to being able to tweet about stuff he wants to tweet about, not always having to consider the Goldman Sachs angle in his social media activities.
“I might venture forward with my own opinions with little regard as to whether they serve the interests and constituencies of Goldman Sachs,” he declared, rather daringly.
Perched rather awkwardly on a stool in the firm’s headquarters in New York, Blankfein seemed at pains to point out how qualified Solomon is to take over the reins.
“You are so much more equipped and prepared than I was when I went in,” he told Solomon. “My experiences were fairly localized on the trading side of the business. You were in the trading division, a capital market originator and an investment banker, so your comprehension of the breadth of the firm’s activities was much more in place than when I got the job.”
In other words – you have no excuse for messing it up.
I only did writing, and you are doing pictures! You have elevated it already! We are showing progress!
- Lloyd Blankfein
While conceding that it wasn’t all plain sailing under his tenure – “I am sure from the outside it didn’t look like every moment was a lovable moment,” he smiled – it is clear that Blankfein has no regrets.
“There are other smart people in the world and other important jobs, but this is kind of up there,” he mused. “I could always have stepped out and made myself an observer, but I wouldn’t have traded any set of experiences for the ones that I had.”
Weight of responsibility
He was at pains to emphasize the weight of responsibility that has fallen on Solomon’s shoulders.
“Think of what you owe everyone else for the ability to have this position,” he told the younger man. “You always have to remind yourself what you owe to the people that put you in this privileged position.”