Lloyd Blankfein Assumes Leadership of Goldman Sachs

Theme: Leadership

After the departure of Hank Paulson in 2006, Lloyd Blankfein is named Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, beginning a tenure marked by historic challenge and innovation.

Lloyd Blankfein was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1954, and raised in East New York, Brooklyn. After graduating in 1975 from Harvard College, he earned a law degree at Harvard Law School (1978). Initially, Lloyd worked as a corporate tax lawyer for a New York firm but a few years later, in 1982, he joined the commodities trading firm J. Aron & Co. as a precious metals salesperson. J. Aron had been acquired by Goldman Sachs the prior year. Named partner in 1988, Lloyd pioneered Goldman Sachs’ foreign exchange business, which would help to reinforce the firm’s position as a leading provider of integrated financial and risk management solutions to its clients around the globe.

Lloyd became a vice chairman of Goldman Sachs, with management responsibility for the Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities (FICC) and Equities Divisions, in 2002 and was named president and chief operating officer of the firm in 2003. In 2006, he became Chairman and CEO after Hank Paulson was named secretary of the treasury of the United States under President George W. Bush. Despite his outwardly buoyant demeanor, Lloyd’s years of experience as a trader had trained him to be intensely risk aware and deeply skeptical of the ability of even the most sophisticated quantitative models to properly project market outcomes.

Lloyd would steer the firm through the global financial crisis of 2008, working ceaselessly to guide Goldman Sachs as it transitioned into a bank holding company during the worst market event since the Great Depression. In addition to building on the firm’s global momentum during his tenure, initiatives such as 10,000 Women (2008) and 10,000 Small Businesses (2010) would be launched, as well as the Business Standards Committee (2010), the Marquee platform (2014) and Marcus (2016), the firm’s digital consumer financial services business.

In 2018, Lloyd retired as CEO and chairman and was succeeded by David Solomon.


This article was originally published as part of a series commemorating the 150th anniversary of Goldman Sachs' founding in 1869.