In an interview with Bloomberg Television yesterday, former Goldman Sachs CEO Jon Corzine -- and former New Jersey governor -- defended the firm he once ran, alleging that as "the leader of the industry," Goldman is "vulnerable" to "envy":
"When you're successful it brings envy...These things are at a time when people are extremely sensitive -- and the other issue is that people are broadly frustrated with the financial institutions, and since it is the leader of the industry and has shown great success over a long period of time, I think it's more vulnerable."
And despite his ill-conceived comment about Goldman doing "God's work," Corzine said that CEO Lloyd Blankfein is doing "a much better job" in an "incredibly challenging" environment "than some of the publicity surrounding him" indicates.
Corzine had nary a critical word for Wall Street, although he did note that one Goldman managing director "said [Goldman] should have brought more transparency to the currency swaps associated with Greece."
Corzine, who was reportedly ousted as Goldman's chief in a 1998 "coup" led by senior Goldman execs -- including his successor, Henry Paulson -- was elected Senator and then governor of New Jersey. But he lost his reelection bid last fall, and his next career move is as yet undetermined. He told Bloomberg that he's currently "looking at three or four different kinds of options," but denied that he ever talked to Bank of America:
"No to Bank of America, to that situation. We never had any conversation. The state of New Jersey has done a lot of business with Bank of America and is a little awkward. I was governor. I would have had trouble even allowing myself on a conflict basis to enter into those talks."
But Corzine seemed open to the possibility of running another financial institution, although he said it would need to happen sooner than later, since he's "getting a little older."
Here's the full interview:
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