Greg Smith, the now-former head of Europe, Middle East and Africa equities derivatives trading in Goldman Sachs London office, scathing op-ed in todays New York Times set off a wave of reaction around the blogo- and twittersphere. Among his allegations were that Goldman traders allegedly refer to their clients as muppets and that client satisfaction has eroded as a company concern.
Lloyd Blankfein and Gary Cohn, ceo and coo of Goldman respectively, released a letter to Goldman employees that addresses the op-ed. In a company of our size, it is not shocking that some people could feel disgruntled, the letter said. The letter goes on to say that 89% percent of Goldman employees self-reported satisfaction with the firm. The letter does not directly address the accusations made by Smith.
One London credit derivatives trader who works at a different firm said he didnt even bother to finish reading the whole thing. Im tired of those people bashing a bank when they work at a bank, he said. The guy was happy to make his money for however many years.
Here are some reactions from around the Internet:
Zero Hedge, a blog that often takes opinion pieces from Wall Street honchos, took a critical position against Goldman. While this comes nowhere close to redeeming the massive ills the firms and its peers have inflicted upon society, this kind of self-reflection is critical, not only at Goldman, but everywhere else, if the world has some chance of stopping before it slides right over the edge.
Business Insider interviewed Aveneesh Singh Saluja, a former intern and staffer who worked for Smith. Saluja held Smith in high esteem, saying, He took care of us junior guys, gave us great pieces of advice, and in general came across as one of the more personable, friendly, and genuine guys on the floor."
Forbes compared Smiths letter to that of Don Draper in the AMC show Mad Men.
The Smith op-ed references a 2009 article written by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone that refers to Goldman as a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. On his blog, Taibbi called the resignation brave.