Jake Siewart: Power List 2012

Replacing longtime chief Goldman spokesperson, and industry legend, Lucas van Praag, Jake Siewert will have to defend one of the most unpopular companies in the US.

Global head of corporate communications, Goldman Sachs
Managing communications and corporate reputation for a company once famously described in Rolling Stone as "a great vampire squid, wrapped around the face of humanity" would undoubtedly scare off many top communications executives. Then again, most top communicators haven't faced the cauldron of the White House briefing room only months after their boss escaped an impeachment trial in the Senate.

Jake Siewert can now say he's done both. He was appointed head of global corporate communications at Goldman Sachs in March after he was reportedly also courted by Pepsi.

Replacing longtime chief Goldman spokesperson, and industry legend, Lucas van Praag, Siewert will have to defend one of the most unpopular companies in the US, and at a time when trust in financial institutions remains exceedingly low. Case in point: Just after Siewert was hired, former Goldman executive director Greg Smith wrote an op-ed in The New York Times saying he could no longer work at the financial institution "in good conscience" and called its culture "toxic."

Turning Goldman's reputation around is a huge task, but there's nothing to suggest Siewert isn't up for it. He has a better understanding of government affairs, private industry, and finance than nearly all, having also worked as an executive for Alcoa and as a counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. He's been praised by former colleagues in media reports for his cool, calm, and collected nature that can rise to a fiery defense of his superiors when the time calls for it.

If Siewert succeeds, it might not be immediately evident to either the public or the press because Goldman would be taking a break from the headlines. It's a tough task to defend a company that is still taking the heat for the 2008 financial collapse and is a favorite punching bag for politicians and commentators alike.

But Siewert has worked for other people who have turned their reputations around in the long run – ask former President Bill Clinton.

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