Time was, Jamie Dimon was the most popular CEO on Wall Street and America’s “Least Hated Banker,” for reasons that included the fact that the man has soulful blue eyes, charisma out the ass, and was in charge of one of the banks that a) didn’t go out of business during the financial crisis, like Lehman and Bear and b) supposedly didn’t actually need the bailout money the government made it take (as JD has said previously), like Bank of America and Citigroup. The man, in the hearts of many and especially the adoring press, could do no wrong. Which is why it probably stung a lot that Lloyd Blankfein, a Wall Street CEO who also possesses more charm than a person would know what do do with, who was also in charge of a bank that neither went out of business during the financial crisis nor required the bailout money it was forced to take (according to GS), and who is also the owner of a pair of baby blues, though in his case ones that sparkle, could only do wrong. And while LB is not one to gloat at another’s misfortune, especially that of a friend, he’s obviously feeling pretty good about being living proof of the old saying, “only one Wall Street CEO’s balls can be in a vise at a time,” and right now it’s JD’s turn. Read more »
Charlie Gasparino: Rumors Government Is Planning To Nail Four On Wall Street Probably Only Rumors But Listen Up AnywayBy Bess Levin
Point: “The latest urban legend to spread on trading desks and through the executive suites on Wall Street goes something like this: coming this fall, as President Obama makes his final push for a second term, his Justice Department will finally give the public what it wants in the form of an arrest of a major Wall Street figure for his role in the financial crisis. The men at the top of this “October Surprise” list are two of the more infamous figures in the banking business: former Lehman Brothers chief executive Dick Fuld and current Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein. Using the Justice Department for political purposes is, of course, pretty sleazy.”
Counterpoint: “…But after speaking to my law enforcement sources — and you can throw people who work at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department in this category — I give low probability for this urban legend coming to fruition.”
Regardless: Read more »
Matt and Ben. Penn and Teller. Bert and Ernie. Gary and Lloyd. As those who keep up on the bromances of Wall Street know, Lloyd Blankfein and Gary Cohn are the absolute best of buds. While their relationship started out as a work thing back in 1990, when Cohn was hired as a metals trader and “became Blankfein’s corporate problem solver,” in the twenty plus years since it’s moved far beyond that to include hanging on weekends, family vacations, and wives who are also tight. According to a 2010 profile, Cohn isn’t so much LB’s righthand man as he is a part of him, having been introduced to people on at least one occasion as simply “Lloyd’s best friend.” And while their bond was no doubt strengthened by weathering the financial crisis and the Goldman haters together, as bosom buddies who are always there for each other and would do anything for one another, be it taking a bullet, donating a kidney, or just calling to talk about nothing, lately there has supposedly been a little friction. Read more »
A week ago today, a man named Greg Smith resigned from Goldman Sachs. As a sort of exit interview, Smith explained his reasons for departing the firm in a New York Times Op-Ed entitled “Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs.” The equity derivatives VP wrote that Goldman had “veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say I identify with what it stands for.” Smith went on to note that whereas the Goldman of today is “just about making money,” the Goldman he knew as a young pup “revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients.” It was a culture that made him “love working for the firm” and its absence had stripped him of “pride and belief” he once held in the place.
While claiming that Goldman Sachs has become virtually unrecognizable from the institution founded by Marcus (Goldman) and Samuel (Sachs), which put clients ahead of its own interests, is hardly a new argument, there was something about Smith’s words that gave readers a moment’s pause. He was so deeply distraught over the differences between the Goldman of 2012 and the Goldman of 2000 (when he was hired) that suggested…more. That he’d seen things. Things that he couldn’t forget. Things that had made an imprint on his soul. Things that he held up in his heart for how Goldman should be and things that made it all the more difficult to ignore when it failed to live up to that ideal. Things like this: Read more »
Resignation Letter Reveals Goldman Sachs Is In The Business Of Making Money, Hires People Who Don’t Know How To Tie Their ShoesBy Bess Levin
Greg Smith is a Goldman Sachs “executive director” and “head of equity derivatives” in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. And, as you may have heard, today is his last day at the firm. Greg had a speech prepared for the big announcement, which he stayed up all night writing and planned to deliver on the trading floor at noon, but assuming security has other ideas, we volunteered to relay his story. A word of advice: brace yourselves.
Why is Greg resigning from Goldman Sachs? To understand why he’s leaving, you have to know what it was like when he got here, twelve years ago.
It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years. It wasn’t just about making money; this alone will not sustain a firm for so long. It had something to do with pride and belief in the organization.
For a while, Greg loved Goldman Sachs! And the feeling was mutual, otherwise they obviously would not have bestowed him the great honor of being “selected as one of 10 people (out of a firm of more than 30,000) to appear on the recruiting video, which is played on every college campus we visit around the world.” Shortly after the cameras rolled and he got his star turn, though, things began to change. And not in a good way. Greg suddenly noticed that the culture that made him “love working for this firm” was gone. He no longer had “the pride, or the belief.” The moment of truth? When he realized he “could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work.” It didn’t matter how great a performance he gave in those videos. It didn’t matter that audiences would ask if he really worked for Goldman or if they’d hired an actor, as he appeared to have been classically trained. It didn’t matter that his recruiting DVD had been nominated for several trade awards. It didn’t matter because Greg had seen too much. Read more »