Lloyd Blankfein, Treasury Secretary?October 16, 2009: 1:13 PM ET
by Patricia Sellers
Lloyd Blankfein hasn't loved buddying up to Washington this past year. After accepting--and repaying--$10 billion in TARP funds to help rescue the global financial system, the Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO has had to raise his presence in D.C., as well as in the press, to defend the firm's record profits and opulent pay. "We went from a bankrupt model to 'too big to fail,'" said Blankfein, referring to Goldman's scuffed image, in an interview this morning with Fortune managing editor managing editor Andy Serwer.
Blankfein, you would think, would want little more to do with D.C. But apparently he's thinking otherwise. When asked if he is planning to take a job in Washington after Goldman, the CEO responded with a story about advice he received when he made managing partner at the firm 21 years ago. "A majordomo told me, 'You should think of your career this way. If someone writes a nine-paragraph obituary, make sure that no more than two paragraphs are about Goldman Sachs."
The "majordomo" was Jon Cohen, who is now an advisory director at Goldman and back then was a right-hand man to the late John Weinberg.
Without mentioning "Government Sachs,"--the nickname used by people who contend that Goldman has gotten favorable treatment from regulators--Blankfein went on to tick off a list of former Goldman colleagues who have gone on to big government positions: former Treasury Secretaries Hank Paulson and Bob Rubin, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, and Steve Friedman and John Whitehead. "All had second, if not third acts, in their careers," Blankfein noted.
Not that the Goldman chief is going anywhere soon. He just turned 55 and probably has at least left five years running Wall Street's mightiest firm. But given that he supported Hillary Clinton and then Barack Obama for President, it's conceivable if the Democrats hold power: Blankfein for Treasury Secretary in 2016?