Goldman Sachs has a image problem, as you may have noticed. The firm has been battered by bad press in recent weeks as critics have accused Goldman of having a hand in everything from the destruction of the cookie industry to the spread of nuclear materials to rogue nation-states. (Okay, the firm hasn't been accused of that last one just yet, but it's just a matter of time.) Now, as we head into fall and get closer and closer to bonus season, Goldman chief Lloyd Blankfein is getting worried that it's about to get worse. But what to do?
Goldman can't not pay its bankers in the hopes of avoiding terribly damning (and slightly misguided) Rolling Stone writers from taking shots at the firm. But everyone needs a punching bag in these challenging economic times—great stress reliever!—and there aren't too many firms poised to take over the title of America's Most Hated Financial Institution™. Making matters worse in the minds of Goldman's execs: That coverage of the bank seems to contain "an element of anti-Semitism" these days, the time-honored "myth of a conspiracy of Jewish bankers controlling the world for their own benefit."
This conundrum isn't just unfolding in a beautiful, wood-paneled conference room atop 85 Broad Street, though. It's also playing out on Blankfein's face, apparently. According to a "Wall Street CEO who considers himself a friend of the Goldman CEO" and who spoke to Charlie Gasparino, Blankfein "looks like shit," these days. Let's be perfectly honest here. Blankfein has never been easy on the eyes. On his very best day, he'd never be able to hold a candle to Jamie Dimon and his perfectly coiffed silver mane.
Speaking of Dimon, what are the chances that he was the one who made the "looks like shit" comment to Gasparino? Very high! They're friends. And whereas some Wall Street CEOs might have used more delicate language to describe Blankfein's "condition," Dimon is famous for swearing like a (Greek-American, non-Jewish) sailor. Sadly, we'll never know for sure. But we fully expect Blankfein to bring the subject up the next time the two sit down to dinner.