Friday, March 16, 2012

This May Say it All

Goldman Sachs executive, Greg Smith, left the company and blasted it in an editorial piece in the New York Times!
by Charlie Leck

I urge you to read Greg Smith’s resignation announcement in the New York Times. The Times published it on 15 March. I do believe it says a great deal about what American business has become in the beginning of the twenty-first century.

For instance, in reference to Goldman Sachs, Mr. Smith says…

“Today is my last day at Goldman Sachs… I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.”

Goldman Sachs has been blasted an awful lot since the economic collapse of 2008 and it has managed to weather most of it; however, this bomb will be some kind of problem for its PR Department to gloss over.

Smith was in the London office. He accuses the company of “losing its moral compass” and of becoming “a greed-infested corporate culture.”

This, my dear readers, is what the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protest was all about. Smith’s comments in the New York Times could have been a speech at one of the OWS’s street protests.

“When the history books are written about Goldman Sachs, they may reflect that the current chief executive officer, Lloyd C. Blankfein, and the president, Gary D. Cohn, lost hold of the firm’s culture on their watch. I truly believe that this decline in the firm’s moral fiber represents the single most serious threat to its long time survival.”

Smith goes on to describe “how callously people talk about ripping their clients off.” Clients, he says, were often referred to as “muppets.” Talk about analysts not about making money for clients, he writes, but about making money “off the client.”

Mr. Smith is not just another guy who happened to work at Goldman Sachs. He’s a former Rhodes Scholar who graduated from Stanford University.

This is not exactly news – this charge by Mr. Smith. Goldman Sachs was blamed heavily for its contributions to the 2008 economic collapse. The company dabbled in ventures that were not in the best interests of its clients and investors.

Of course, Smith is going to reap the expected criticism. “He collected bonuses over the years and hasn’t given any back.”

“He kept his mouth shut until this year’s bonuses were paid and the check was cashed.”
“What you’re hearing is just sour grapes!”

Smith, however, made it clear that he was trying to get the company to take a new and fresh look at itself and to, perhaps, reposition itself and its ethical code.

If nothing else, we can be certain that Smith has opened up a conversation that absolutely has to take place about business in America (and the world) and its responsibility as a good citizen and not as just a money machine. Congratulations to Mr. Smith for that.

Be sure to read the letter.

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