In an interview with Der Speigel today, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein denies a recent report claiming he sent out a memo instructing employees at the much-maligned bank to avoid making big, splashy purchases that might draw negative attention to the firm, but he says he agrees with the general idea anyway: "I didn't send that message then, but it almost doesn't matter," he says.
"We are in the public spotlight. And, in any event, I think it is bad form to be ostentatious."
Right. Well, he does now. TARP thing aside, this is a lesson Lloyd had to learn the hard way. He wasn't always so restrained. As a recent Time magazine profile of the CEO put it, back in the day he "often dressed inappropriately or ostentatiously." But he quickly learned that you don't get the big corner office at the world's most frighteningly conformist bank when you show up to work wearing rhinestone suspenders and chaps. So that's the lesson here, troops. There's nothing wrong with a little flair, just restrict it to the underoos.