Blankfein Ignores Bank News to Help Push Daughter-in-Law's Business
(Bloomberg) -- “Boy, I really miss my old job,” Lloyd Blankfein sarcastically tweeted last week as lawmakers grilled current bank CEOs on Capitol Hill.
Not much had changed Wednesday night, when Blankfein, former head of Goldman Sachs, gave a brief interview during the Jazz at Lincoln Center gala.
“I try to avoid paying attention to banks,” he said when asked which one would be the first to name a woman as chief executive officer.
Instead, he spent time at the party promoting his daughter-in-law’s business, Be Mixed, a line of low-carb mixers.
“It’s all about the monk fruit,” Blankfein told a group of guests including glass blower Paul Arnhold.
Cristina Blankfein added that the monk fruit is used to sweeten Be Mixed products in place of sugar -- her co-founder, Jennifer Ross, is a Type 1 diabetic -- and that a new line of syrups to sweeten coffee and tea is coming soon.
Blankfein, who’s been out of a job for three months, said “there’s no normal yet” in his life.
“I’m not in a steady state,” said Blankfein, 64, who stepped down as chairman and CEO last year. “Eventually, I’ll find other things to do.”
For the moment, he’s throwing himself into nonprofits like the UJA-Federation of New York and Weill Cornell’s medical school. And tonight, he’ll be honored by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center.
“It was born during the AIDS crisis, which was not a very happy time, but the center, in my observation, has evolved,” Blankfein said. “It is now a very happy place and serves a very different community.”
Listening to jazz certainly made him happy on this evening, with Jon Batiste, Harry Connick Jr., trumpeter Summer Camargo and Reno Wilson performing in a program that honored New Orleans’ jazz roots. The event also featured a preview of a movie by Dan Pritzker called “Bolden,” about cornet player Buddy Bolden, in which Wilson plays Louis Armstrong.
“Every time I come here, which is often, I get reminded of how great an art form jazz is,” Blankfein said.
The evening honored hedge fund founder Art Samberg and his wife Becky. Samberg said he grew up in the South Bronx without much exposure to music but got into jazz when he traveled to Cuba with Wynton Marsalis on a Jazz at Lincoln Center trip.
Ellis Marsalis, the father of Wynton and five other sons, was also honored for his role in jazz education and raising a family that has expanded on that mission in myriad ways, including the founding of Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Representing New Orleans were Mike Fitts, the president of Tulane, seated with one of the university’s newest board members, Ann Tenenbaum; and Mitch Landrieu, the city’s former mayor who dined with photographer Arthur Elgort and his wife, Grethe Barrett Holby, a director who’s raising money to bring to New York a production of “Bounce,” an opera about basketball performed on an actual basketball court.
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