Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Music City Center financier facing a "public relations disaster"

Photo credit: The Petrelis Files
Goldman Sachs is getting hit again with a round of charges about its treatment of customers, only this time the criticism is coming from a Goldman insider, and devastatingly so. Greg Smith, a primary recruiter and intern manager who was with Goldman for the past 12 years quits the "bulge bracket" investment bank and explains why:

I believe 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.

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 ....

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-run survival ....

Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence.

It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail ....

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.

This alleged lapse of moral integrity is being spun as a "public relations" disaster in the media, but it is more than a failure of protecting the brand. If Goldman really is acting like a predator, this is a profound moral failure underneath the fickle veneer of flackery.

Or "Muppet City Center"?

Mayor Karl Dean selected Goldman Sachs to be the primary financier of construction of the new Music City Convention Center, set to open in 2013. Metro Nashville is effectively a Goldman Sachs customer. Might Nashvillians also be among the "muppets" getting eyeballs "ripped out" by Government Goldman?

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