Bloomberg News

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein Cancels Barnard College Talk

October 11, 2011

Oct. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s chairman and chief executive officer, canceled a planned appearance tomorrow at Barnard College, whose president joined the company’s board four months ago.

“Mr. Blankfein’s office informed us that he would be unable to deliver his lecture as planned, due to an unavoidable scheduling conflict,” Kathryn Kolbert, director of Barnard’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies, said in an e-mailed statement. “We expect that his talk will be rescheduled for a future date.”

The “Power Talk” with Blankfein was cancelled because he “must be in Washington D.C. that evening,” the Athena Center said on its website.

Debora L. Spar, president of the women-only liberal-arts school, joined Goldman Sachs’s board at a meeting in London on June 16, her 48th birthday. Blankfein, 57, and his wife Laura, a Barnard College alumna and former trustee, donated $50,000 to the New York-based college in the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2010, their nonprofit foundation’s federal tax filings show.

Students at Columbia University, across the street from Barnard, had organized a week-long protest against Blankfein called “School the Squid,” which included discussions about corporate greed and power abuse, the student-run Columbia Daily Spectator reported on its website today.

Goldman Sachs, which was the most profitable securities firm in Wall Street history before it converted to a bank in 2008 after the collapse of smaller rival Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., set a pay record in 2007 when it awarded Blankfein a $67.9 million bonus.

A 2009 article by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone magazine labeled the company “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.”

Stephen Cohen, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs in New York, confirmed that Blankfein cancelled his talk due to a scheduling conflict. He declined further comment.

--Editors: Peter Eichenbaum, Joanna Ossinger

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Harper in New York at charper@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net.


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