Once-Reserved Goldman Turns on the Charm

Ahead of record result, normally reticent bank puts on a smile
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2009 3:35 AM CDT
A man washes a cobblestone street beneath Goldman Sachs headquarters, center, in New York's financial district, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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(Newser) – Today's the day: Goldman Sachs is set to announce record profits in the third quarter, projected at $2.17 billion, and with it a compensation pool larger than Wall Street has ever seen. But the golden bank knows a PR disaster when it sees one—and has been mounting a charm offensive for months, highlighting the modest roots of its CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, and playing up charitable contributions by the firm and its employees. The soft sell is a big shift for the normally secretive bank, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Blankfein himself has been leading much of the public relations effort; last year, he and other top Goldman execs said they'd take no bonus at all. That garnered good publicity and forced several less successful banks to follow suit. But with its quick return to sky-high profits Goldman remains the populists' main offenders—and while Blankfein's bonus was $0 last year, this time around he can expect to take home more than $68 million.