Lloyd Blankfein likes to say he's "attained perfection," a plausible-sounding assertion now that Goldman Sachs has repaid its TARP funds and is dishing out mammoth bonuses. "I don’t want to put a cap on their ambition," the CEO says of his employees. "It’s hard for me to argue for a cap on their compensation." After visiting their inner sanctum at 85 Broad St., John Arlidge of London's Sunday Times offers a field guide to "the biggest swinging dicks in the financial jungle."
Below his populist veneer, Blankfein is unapologetic about Goldman's contributions to the financial meltdown. "I know I could slit my wrists and people would cheer," he acknowledges. That might include his underlings, who endure a brutal hiring process before submitting to a corporate culture that leaves almost no time for a personal life, never mind vacation. At least you get to keep your sense of humor: "We don’t club baby seals," says one employee. "We club babies."