Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein Is King of the World

Lloyd
Photo: Photo Illustration: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures; Patrick McMullan

Now if only he could just enjoy it. Last year, Blankfein, the Brooklyn-born, Harvard-educated son of a postal worker made $68.7 million and bought a $27 million apartment at 15 Central Park West. In the midst of the subprime crisis, his firm just had the best year ever. So why is he so unhappy? "I worry that we're too smug," the Goldman Sachs CEO tells Fortune, "and then I see everyone wringing their hands over the worry that we're too smug, and then I think we're too nuts, and we're destined to have unhappy lives, and we'll always be miserable strivers." Later on in Fortune's lengthy profile, Blankfein says, self-deprecatingly, that "the business media focus on [Goldman] like People focuses on movie stars, except they're better-looking and have more fun." Aw, shucks! Lloyd worries, just like Us!

Are we being played by a man who is actually hyperaware of the media and his own self-image? "I'm always imagining how much worse the headline about Goldman will be when we screw up if we have a quote out there claiming magnificence," he told Goldman's managing directors at a meeting in London in October. "People are dying for us to misstep." After all, as one former Goldman executive puts it, Blankfein may be "funny and self-deprecating," but he "can reach across the table and rip your throat out when it's warranted."

The man who must keep Goldman growing [Fortune]