Damage Control

Blankfein Vows to Rebuild Goldman's Image

On the heels of his lawyers' sit-down with the SEC, Lloyd C. Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, stood up at the firm’s annual meeting and promised to rebuild the Wall Street giant's image. He told the audience of over 300, mostly shareholders and Goldman execs, that the company "must renew the core principles that have sustained us for 141 years," and admitted: "The last few weeks have been a difficult and disappointing year for the firm... Questions have been raised that have gone to the heart of our most fundamental value: How we treat our clients." Blankfein said that a business standards committee would be created to investigate ways the company could contend with the scrutiny it's under. In response to a confrontation from one shareholder demanding his resignation, he said, "I will not be stepping down Monday." At one point, the Rev. Jesse Jackson suggested that the board include one member from a trade or consumer organization, an idea with which Blankfein apparently accepted. Dozens of protesters swarmed outside the downtown office where the meeting was held. New York City's public advocate Bill de Blasio held a news conference outside the entrance to the meeting and called for a resolution that would require Goldman to disclose political spending.