Fox Business correspondent Charlie Gasparino reports that Goldman’s board has directed new public relations chief Jake Siewert to begin to reshape Blankfein’s image - battered and bruised by three years of bad publicity and Blankfein’s uneven performances before Congressional committees investigating the firm’s role in the financial crisis.
According to people close to the firm, Siewert understands the difficulty in creating a new image for Blankfein and the necessity of the task: Goldman's board believes it has no choice but to keep Blankfein in the job to prevent a civil war between competing factions at the firm.
CNBC's John Carney shares the same view, suggesting that this week’s media appearances have silenced the whispers that Blankfein is on his way out.
And people within Goldman have told Carney that they believe Blankfein’s re-emergence is an indication that he is not planning on leaving the firm soon.
'Why put Lloyd out there if he’s retiring this year or next ?', one person said.
Blankfein put in a decent performance on both Bloomberg and CNBC this week, although, as The New York Times points out, he did his predecessor Hank Paulson a bit of a disservice on China.
Asked by Bloomberg TV what the future held for Goldman, Blankfein replied, 'To refer back to the rise of the emerging markets and wealth creation around the world, my predecessors didn’t go to China. They called it Red China. They didn’t go to Russia or India because there were people in poverty, not people growing their businesses and trading with the rest of the world to the extent they are (now)'.
On CNBC minutes earlier, Blankfein also mentioned China, saying: 'My predecessors didn’t go to China three or four times a year like I do'.
But Paulson actually went to China over 70 times between 1990 and 2006, including on several occasions when he was Goldman CEO between 1999 and 2006.