For the first time since 2010, Goldman Sachs CEO and chairman Lloyd Blankfein appeared on television for interviews today, popping up on both CNBC and Bloomberg TV, where the hosts were giddy to have him. (CNBC had a countdown clock to his appearance.) Perhaps unsurprisingly then, Blankfein did not face many hard-hitting questions, although he was asked about Greg Smith's very public resignation in a New York Times op-ed. "Excuse the oxymoron," Blankfein said, "we've gotten used to surprises." There were none this morning.
"As the day went on we got tremendous response," Blankfein continued on the Smith shocker. "I have to deal with clients and people at work and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive and supportive," he said, brushing off the customers-as-"muppets" claim and adding that Goldman Sachs "couldn't have the clients we have if we were anti-client."
Blankfein said there is indeed a plan for succession at the company, but insisted it won't be necessary anytime soon. "I have no plans to leave," he said, addressing the always-buzzing rumors. "I read the same papers you do. You may think they get it from me. I can tell you I have no idea where they get it from."
Asked about the upcoming election, Blankfein called himself a Rockefeller Republican and "a registered Democrat," but declined to say much more. "My e-mail is filled with invitations to attend fund-raisers for every party," he said.
He also touched lightly on the Wall Street crackdown. "I don't like every regulation," he said, but later admitted that, when it comes to conflicts of interest, the industry could use "more prophylactics."