“I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it,” wrote Greg Smith on his “last day at Goldman Sachs,” capping 12 years with Wall Street’s gilded firm.
“It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off,” he wrote. “Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as ‘muppets,’ sometimes over internal e-mail.”
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 firmâ€™s culture on their watch. I truly believe that this decline in the firmâ€™s moral fiber represents the single most serious threat to its long-run survival.
To be fair, here is part of Goldman Sachs response:
In a company of our size, it is not shocking that some people could feel disgruntled. But that does not and should not represent our firm of more than 30,000 people. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. But, it is unfortunate that an individual opinion about Goldman Sachs is amplified in a newspaper and speaks louder than the regular, detailed and intensive feedback you have provided the firm and independent, public surveys of workplace environments.
While we expect you find the words you read today foreign from your own day-to-day experiences, we wanted to remind you what we, as a firm â€“ individually and collectively â€“ think about Goldman Sachs and our client-driven culture.
Toxic cultures are bad. Don’t talk bad about your clients. Business 101 stuff.