Sportlight on: Lloyd Blankfein, Chief executive, Goldman Sachs
Stephen Foley is a former Associate Business Editor of The Independent, based in New York. He left in August 2012. In a decade at the paper, he covered personal finance, the UK stock market and the pharmaceuticals industry, and had also been the Business section's share tipster. Between arriving with three suitcases in Manhattan in January 2006 and his departure, he witnessed and reported on a great economic boom turning spectacularly to bust. In March 2009, he was named Business and Finance Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards.
Tuesday 07 February 2012
Another day doing God's work?
Stop that now. He is still trying to live down his little joke to The Sunday Times about bankers' moral calling. Maybe his latest media appearance will help.
What media appearance?
Mr Blankfein is the new star of a campaign video from the Human Rights Campaign which has just hit YouTube. Unlikely though it may seem, the Goldman Sachs boss is the new face of gay marriage.
HRC is the pre-eminent gay rights lobby group in the US, and Goldman Sachs has long been a sponsor of its events. Now the boss has come out in favour of the big campaign issue of the day, becoming the first high-profile corporate leader to do so.
Unlikely is the right word
Yes, but that stereotype of the testosterone-pumped, bullying Wall Street trader is actually quite out of date. And HRC has picked Mr Blankfein, who is married with three children, precisely because it wants to show that supporters of gay marriage are now in the majority, and hail from all parts of the political and business spectrum.
What's Mr Blankfein got to say?
"America's corporations learned long ago that equality is just good business and is the right thing to do."
This is Goldman. Is there a cynical take on this?
There is certainly no harm associating Goldman with a cause beloved of the same voters and politicians who most want to tax, regulate and otherwise bash the banks.
I knew it
It really is good business. There has been a bit of a Wall Street arms race to lure gay employees, led by Barclays two years ago promising to top up gay couples' healthcare benefits to the same level that straight married couples get. Don't expect Mr Blankfein to be the only banker to sign on.
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