Goldman Sachs says sorry

November 17, 2009

Wall Street’s response to public criticism has mainly been exercises in “never apologize, never explain.”

Which makes today’s mea culpa by Lloyd Blankfein all the more extraordinary. Bloomberg News reports:

“We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret,” Blankfein, 55, said at a conference in New York hosted by the Directorship magazine. “We apologize.”

Such a simple and direct admission should have been made by a number of financial executives months ago, but it is to Blankfein’s credit that he has made it even as the pressure on Wall Street from Washington seems to be diminishing.

Reining in bonus pay and doing more on the charitable front would go a long way toward improving the image of a firm that is still associated in the public’s mind with a large vampire squid. But these words from Blankfein will be felt just as keenly.


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