Top Goldman executive quits over culture of ‘toxic’ greed

A senior Goldman Sachs executive has attacked a “toxic” and “destructive” culture at the leading investment bank that is increasingly focused on making money from clients, in an article in the New York Times.

Sorry, but I have to wonder if this isn’t about saving his own neck. ~J

Former senior Goldman Sachs executive Greg Smith

Former senior Goldman Sachs executive Greg Smith

12:25PM GMT 14 Mar 2012
The Telegraph, UK

Greg Smith, who is resigning today as a Goldman Sachs executive director and head of its US equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa after 12 years, wrote:

“I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it. To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money.”

In his article titled Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs he writes that over the past twelve months he had seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets”, sometimes over internal e-mail.

“I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that a client’s success or progress was not part of the thought process at all.”

Mr Smith said that the bank was “too integral to global finance to continue to act this way”.


When he joined the culture revolved around “teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and doing right by our clients”, he writes.

“The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years … 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.

“… These days, the most common question I get from junior analysts about derivatives is, ‘How much money did we make off the client?’ It bothers me every time I hear it, because it is a clear reflection of what they are observing from their leaders about the way they should behave.

“Now project 10 years into the future: You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the junior analyst sitting quietly in the corner of the room hearing about ‘muppets’, ‘ripping eyeballs out’ and ‘getting paid’ doesn’t exactly turn into a model citizen.”

Mr Smith believes the decline in the firm’s moral fibre represents the single most serious threat to its long-run survival and see his article as a wake-up call to the board of directors.

Responding to the article, Goldman Sachs said:

“We disagree with the views expressed, which we don’t think reflect the way we run our business. In our view, we will only be successful if our clients are successful. This fundamental truth lies at the heart of how we conduct ourselves.”

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7 Responses to Top Goldman executive quits over culture of ‘toxic’ greed

  1. Lily says:

    Forgiveness is a gift I give to myself….I feel sheer joy that all this is coming to light and whoever the perpetrators are will get whatever is coming to them. I, however, am not into suffering of any sort and surrender to the greater mind and the law of Karma. I send love and light to the entire world. I do have compassion for those who were lead away into the darkness and I trust this process of uncovering and correcting. I only wish for it to be over! PATIENCE?
    Much love to you all,

  2. Alex says:

    I wrote security software.. it was visitor access software. There was a building in lower Manhattan near water st. Goldman Sachs was the main tenant. I had to spend a week in that building installing the badge printing software at the main entrance for the visitors. What is weird is that the Property Management company was Paramount Group, and at every other building The Paramount Group managed they had their own security guards, but at that building Goldman Sachs insisted on using their own security guards. There was a dark presence in that building that hung thick in the air, made you feel like you were breathing in disease. The people there looked stern and unpleasant and I could not wait to leave. These many years later it appears only now obvious why.

  3. Michael says:

    Methinks the bankers are getting out and using a made up story to shield them from their inevitable demise!
    Years ago, a friend of mine took over the abandoned offices of the Goldman Sachs office in my city. When they left, they left all of the furniture including a boardroom table and chairs that was over $100K when purchased only three years before.
    These guys have been swimming in ill gotten money for years. Does the term “tar and feather” sound fair for vermin like this?
    Jean, I know I should be a little more forgiving but banks like his have made millions of people miserable because of their strong arm tactics and debt they have foisted on the rest of us.

    • Jean says:

      Michael, I don’t think we have to be forgiving – not at all. What I worry about, however, is a kind of mass psychology that could develop, sort of a ‘let’s get ’em!’ kind of thing. I don’t want to see us lower our vibrations for these birds, not one bit! Hopefully, our higher vibrations will make them all that much more uncomfortable! Hugs, ~Jean

  4. Stunned at sunset says:

    General post:

    No kiddin’, you don’t agree with the views expressed? Gee Whiz, it sure looks like your entire company is nothing more than a “den of thieves” from OUR perspective here on the outside getting screwed by everything you do to the global community!

    Your clients really don’t need to be successful because, as we’ve seen, after you screw those engaged in your fraudulent schemes, you flush their accounts, eradicate their culture, financially enslave their society, and destroy their entire country! And all that work just move on to the next batch of ill-informed, ignorant, “investors” who have no idea what they’re getting into when they’re getting involved with YOU! I empathize with your view though: it’ll take YEARS to rifle through 7 billion of us! Think of all of the immoral, ill-gotten gains you could make screwing that many people!

    Give me a break. Goldman Sachs is going to collapse under the overwhelming weight of their own ignorance and duplicity. They’re out of cash, broke, and becoming the bane of their own Cabal. Guess what happens to something as useless as a “banking” entity that becomes bank-rupt (as in RUPTURE, KAPUT, UBER BRACH, SE ROMPIO’, TERMINADO)? Yeah, tell me about it.

    Okay, everyone, nothing to be concerned with here…move along! Please permit the sanitation crews to clean up this mess, everyone! That’s it! Thank you for your cooperation and have a nice day!


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