A 12-year veteran of Goldman Sachs wrote a scathing editorial for The New York Times about his resignation from the finance giant, effective today, in which he blasts the company for putting client interests secondary to profits. In other news, Darth Vader announced he is leaving the Empire.
Goldman Sachs executive director Greg Smith says the “toxic and destructive” atmosphere is not what it was when he first arrived back in the client-friendly days in 2000:
It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years. It wasn’t just about making money; this alone will not sustain a firm for so long. It had something to do with pride and belief in the organization. I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years. I no longer have the pride, or the belief. … I knew it was time to leave when I realized I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work.
Better late than never, Greg? He says the quickest way to get promoted at Goldman is to trick clients into investing in low-performing stocks. “It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off,” he writes. “Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as ‘muppets,’ sometimes over internal email.”
It’s hard not to see the article as self-serving and opportunistic. It’s the kind of delicious raw meat exposé you can see Michael Moore and the Wall Street-hating left drooling over. But the real questions are: Hang on, you’re only just now realizing Goldman abuses its clients? How long ago did the bonus check clear? And who got promoted instead of you? While you were handling equity derivatives overseas, was it easy to turn a blind eye to the whole mortgage crisis and resulting trading abuses?
For all this talk about humility — Smith cites the “S.E.C.,Fabulous Fab, Abacus, God’s work, Carl Levin, Vampire Squids” — this sure isn’t a humble way to go out. Especially when it’s at least four years too late.
Now, here are some other op-ed we might expect from The New York Times this week:
Why I’m Leaving Facebook, by Single Guy in His Late 30s
Why I’m Leaving the GOP, by Majority Whip
Why I’m Leaving West Baltimore, by Slim Charles
Why I’m Leaving This Thanksgiving Dinner, by Liberal College Kid Sitting Next to Racist Uncle Gary
Why I’m Leaving the New York Mets, by Director of Scouting
Why I’m Leaving Jersey Shore, by Junior Associate in MTV’s Standards & Practices
Why I’m Leaving This Skrillex show, by An Epileptic
Why I’m Leaving Fox News, by Shep Smith
Why I’m Leaving Apple, by 13-Year-Old Foxconn Employee
Why I’m Leaving Penn State Football, by Mike McQueary
No matter what, who wouldn’t love to be a fly on the wall in the @GSElevator today?
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