Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Restoring the Goldman Sachs brand

In the movies, criminals talk about making that “one big score” and then retiring – which you know is just prelude to taking one big chance – and then getting a bellyful of hot lead. That’s the movies. Things are different in real life. Consider Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs.
Blankfein is calling for an overhaul of Wall Street compensation practices. According to the AP, Blankfein said that “much of the past year has been deeply humbling for my industry” – ("much," not all). He acknowledged that it could take years to rebuild investor confidence lost partly by industry practices that appear "self-serving and greedy in hindsight." (Yes, “in hindsight.”)

So now Blankfein favors more restrictions on pay, more incentives to be prudent and to defer reward until many years out. And here’s the beautiful thing about this plan: Blankfein already took home $43 million in 2008.

The way I see it, Goldman Sachs, yearning to regain investor confidence lost through practices that seem greedy in hindsight, is headed by this movie-thug-like guy who, sucking in cigarette smoke, vows to make one last big score before shutting it all down.

Except this is real life... and Blankfein pulls it off.



Anonymous said...

Mr. Blankchek is merely attempting to use that old movie ploy of shooting himself in the arm in order to make it appear that he had nothing to do with the murder being investigated. He, too, is a victim of a culture of too-greedy senior executives. In his case, the ploy is intended to preempt government efforts to formalize laws that put limits on executive pay. That would be, well, socialism. But, many Americans would be willing to hold their noses on that count to see some of these Big Bosses brought down to size...

brandsinger said...

Thanks for the colorful comment, Anonymous. I like your move script.

The other day I heard someone say that this financial crisis has made populists out of all of us -- as indeed it has. Heeding the call from the 1890s, I not only decry the big-city financial fat-cats but, in the spirit of William Jennings Bryan, I've started to invest in silver.

They shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of derivatives!