Did Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein crib his speech for today’s Council of Institutional Investors conference from the press conference Yankee Alexander Rodriguez’s recently held to apologize for his use of steroids? He certainly expressed many of the same sentiments! Let’s review.
Admission of newly acquired humility: check.
Blankfein: “Much of the past year has been deeply humbling for my industry.”
A-Rod: “This is three years I’m not proud of.”
Deflecting blame onto the system at large: check.
Blankfein: There was “systemic lack of skepticism … with respect to credit ratings.”
A-Rod: “Back then it was a different culture. It was very loose.”
Didn’t ask the right questions: check.
Blankfein: “We collectively neglected to raise enough questions about whether some of the trends and practices that became commonplace really served the public’s long-term interests.”
A-Rod: “It was such a loosey-goosey era. I’m guilty for a lot of things. I’m guilty for being negligent, naïve, not asking all the right questions.”
It only happened because I really care about winning—for you: check.
Blankfein: “We rationalized because our self-interest in preserving and growing our market share, as competitors, sometimes blinds us — especially when exuberance is at its peak.”
A-Rod: “When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day…I wanted to prove to everyone that, you know, I was worth, you know — and being one of the greatest players of all time.”
But in retrospect, that was a bad call: check.
Blankfein: “Decisions on compensation and other actions taken and not taken, particularly at banks that rapidly lost a lot of shareholder value, look self-serving and greedy in hindsight.”
A-Rod: “And I did take a banned substance and, you know, for that I’m very sorry and deeply regretful. And although it was the culture back then and Major League Baseball overall was very — I just feel that — you know, I’m just sorry.”
Mostly, I’m apologizing because you people are going to make this extremely difficult for me to live down otherwise: check.
Blankfein: “The loss of public confidence from failing to live up to expectations that we created will take years to rebuild.”
A-Rod: “I was young. I was stupid. I was naive…I’m sorry to fans.”
But I am now a changed man: check.
Blankfein: “I, for one, know we have not done the best job in the recent past but working with you, as many of the world’s most important investors, Goldman Sachs pledges to recommit itself to this fundamental obligation.”
A-Rod: “I’ve proved to myself and to everyone that I don’t need any of that.”