Lloyd C. Blankfein, chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS:US), said operating a small business is as hard as running his firm of more than 30,000 employees.
The head of Goldman Sachs has a safety net of financial capital and a large staff for support, unlike the founder of a small business, Blankfein, 58, said yesterday in Long Beach, California, at a meeting to recognize community college graduates of the firm’s 10,000 Small Businesses program.
“As I’m listening to the entrepreneurs, I’m thinking, ‘Gosh, could I do that?’” he said at Long Beach City College. “I don’t do a bigger version of what they do. I do a different thing and they have challenges that I don’t have.”
Goldman Sachs, the fifth-biggest U.S. bank by assets, was the most profitable firm in Wall Street history before converting to a bank in 2008 after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. went bankrupt. The company is cutting $500 million of costs after reporting its lowest first-half revenue in seven years.
Goldman Sachs’s 10,000 Small Businesses is a $500 million initiative to help create jobs and economic growth by providing entrepreneurs with business education and access to capital. It is active in Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New York and Salt Lake City, Utah.
It takes courage to start and expand a small business because people put their families’ futures at stake, Blankfein said after spending time with graduates from the program.
“At the end of the day, the name of the company I work for is Goldman and Sachs,” he said “There’s no Lloyd Blankfein in that.”
Blankfein, who became Goldman Sachs’s chairman and CEO in June 2006, has been raising his public profile since hiring Richard L. “Jake” Siewert Jr. as global head of communications in March. Today’s event was Blankfein’s third media appearance in less than two weeks, following his participation in a Sept. 24 panel at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York and a Sept. 19 discussion hosted by the Canadian Club of Toronto.
Blankfein is scheduled to present an award at Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women conference today in Laguna Beach, California.
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