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2 Lloyd Blankfein

It once appeared as if Lloyd Blankfein would be best remembered for his rock-steadiness during the 2008 financial crisis.

Lloyd Blankfein It once appeared as if Lloyd Blankfein would be best remembered for his rock-steadiness during the 2008 financial crisis. No, he reassured an anxious colleague, this wasn’t like storming the beaches at Normandy.

Although the markets didn’t turn against Goldman Sachs in 2009, everyone from Washington politicians to ordinary citizens seemed to, as the firm prospered conspicuously while millions suffered in the recession. Ex–commodities trader Blankfein, 55, who became Goldman CEO in 2006 when Hank Paulson moved to Treasury, didn’t help with the backlash any when he quipped to a London newspaper that Goldman’s lavishly paid bankers were doing “God’s work.” Now he may be linked forever to that cringe-inducing quote.

Still, Blankfein is a genuinely liked leader. And it’s a sure bet that in the next financial crisis, the president will install a hotline to Goldman’s offices.