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Lloyd Blankfein, Wall Street’s Most Smartest CEO

Lloyd Blankfein

Lloyd Blankfein, default.Photo: Patrick McMullan

Lately, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has been reminding us of Kirsten Dunst’s character in Drop Dead Gorgeous, Amber Atkins, the beauty-pageant contestant who only wins the title of Mount Rose American Teen after her main competitors are (1) blown up on a tractor, (2) felled by an errant spotlight, and (3) consumed by flames on a swan float. Ever since Stan O’Neal and Chuck Prince announced their giant losses and subsequent resignations, Lloyd has been receiving accolades for, well, not losing quite so much. This week, Fortune has made him No. 3 on their 25 Most Powerful People in Business list, but even the write-up that accompanies this honor kinda concedes that he’s only there because everyone else looks so bad .

Wall Street firms are taking multibillion-dollar write-offs. Titans of finance are losing their jobs. But through it all, Goldman Sachs keeps making money … CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who took over last spring, gets credit for helping steer Goldman away from the most damaging investments. And Goldman, which says it has limited exposure to the subprime mess, stands confirmed — for now, anyway — as the smartest bank on the Street.

Which, let’s face it, is kind of like being the prettiest person in the burn unit, but hey, it’s something. Congratulations, Lloyd!

25 Most Powerful People in Business [Fortune]

Lloyd Blankfein, Wall Street’s Most Smartest CEO