First Bernanke Now Blankfein?

The Financial Times has chosen Lloyd C. Blankfein as its person of the year. Mr. Blankfein, the Goldman Sachs chief, has become the public face of Wall Street during its most testing period since the 1930s, the newspaper said, and Mr. Blankfein’s position and his personality were the basis of his selection.

Goldman Sachs, said the newspaper, “navigated the 2008 global financial crisis better than others,” and is about to make record profits while paying up to $23 billion in bonuses to its 31,700 staff.

The newspaper called Mr. Blankfein “a tough, bright, funny financier who reoriented Goldman. Under his leadership, trading and risk-taking have pushed to the fore, reducing the influence of its investment banking advisers.”

Facing public anger in 2009 — as taxpayers raged at having to bail out the big Wall Street banks — Goldman’s profitability, and suspicions that its ties to governments around the world give it unfair advantages, made it a symbol of greed and excess.

But Mr. Blankfein has rebutted the criticism effectively, the newspaper wrote, “shifting from insisting that it would probably have survived the crisis without help from the U.S. Treasury, to apologizing for its conduct,” and finally, the newspaper noted, in an interview with the Sunday Times of London, asserting that Goldman was “doing God’s work”.

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