Postal worker's son to head world's 'biggest hedge fund'

Lloyd Blankfein has been named as the new chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs, making him the most influential banker on Wall Street and putting a former trader in charge of what is increasingly being called the biggest hedge fund in the world.

Currently the president and chief operating officer, Mr Blankfein has long been seen as the heir apparent to Hank Paulson, who was nominated by President George W Bush this week to become Treasury Secretary.

A board meeting yesterday decided not to split the roles of chairman and chief executive, which had been combined under Mr Paulson, despite some commentators worrying that putting too much power in the hands of an executive with a trading background might change the character of the bank. Goldman's investment banking side is defending its position as the leading adviser on merger and acquisition deals.

Mr Blankfein, 51, joined the bank in 1981 as a commodities trader and rose through the ranks to head its entire trading operations, which now account for 66 per cent of Goldman's net revenue. The operations include hedge funds and trading on behalf of clients, but increasingly investing Goldman's own capital in the financial markets, in companies and in infrastructure projects.

His background, though, is far from typical for a Wall Street figure. The son of a postal worker, he was raised in a housing project in the New York borough of Brooklyn. He put himself through Harvard College and Harvard Law School with a combination of scholarships and financial aid.

Mr Blankfein was paid $38m (£20m) last year, almost as much as Mr Paulson and more than any other Wall Street chief executive.

Some clients have grumbled that, since becoming the number two at the bank, he has not spent enough time with investment banking clients, but fans say he retains the sharp wit and decisiveness that comes from his days in the rough and tumble of the trading division.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview