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 »
Goldman Employees May Only Have A Few Months Left To Enjoy The Lloyd Face / Get Used To The Gary ThighBy Matt Levine
Lloyd Blankfein may step down as chief executive of Goldman Sachs as early as this summer; and president and chief operating officer Gary Cohn is the lead candidate to replace him, according to a Goldman executive and a source close to the firm. A Goldman spokesman declined to comment. To be sure, anything can happen over the course of the next few months and the departure of Blankfein, 57, is not certain. It is still up in the air whether Blankfein wants to step down. It would also not be unheard of for Blankfein to share the role of CEO, as so many others at Goldman have in the past. Former co-heads include John Weinberg and John Whitehead; Robert Rubin and Stephen Friedman; and Jon Corzine and Henry Paulson. … It seems increasingly certain that Gary Cohn would replace Blankfein. [Fortune, earlier, earlier]
Steve Cohen To Make Sure TriState Area Superbowl Will Cause All Other Super Bowls To Bow Down Before It In AweBy Bess Levin
Yes, Super Bowl XLVIII is a long way off. Yes, it’s hard to get jazzed about a game for which we have no idea who will be playing. Yes, you might actually freeze your ass off. While all of those things may be true, yesterday brought news that should have you salivating for 2014. Because yesterday, we found out that that SB? Stands to be the best one ever, based on a host committee that includes (among others such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Citi, BlackRock and Paul Tudor Jones): SAC Capital. While the official list cites SAC president Tom “Silver Fox” Conheeney as its point man on the project, make no mistake that Steve Cohen will be heavily involved, no doubt going above and beyond the responsibilities of a typical host. Obviously, Cohen has a lot on the line here, given that his venerable initials are on the thing. Therefore, in an effort to make sure SAC isn’t associated with a sack-freezing joke, he’ll be taking the following steps to ensure the game is a smash hit. Read more »
Back in August, it was revealed that Goldman Sachs had added a disturbing element to its cost-cutting efforts: plant murder. The lobby philodendrons? Gone. Boston Ferns by the elevator? To the dumpster. The third floor Geraniums that lined the windows? Left for dead.
The While every bank on Wall Street is bracing for serious reductions in staff, compensation and “extras,” Goldman had been the only one to date that choose to commit genocide to help its bottom line. Employees were, understandably, shocked by the decision, which reportedly “provoked disquiet at the bank,” with some putting their jobs on the line to “block the move, leading to a stand-off between the plant pickers and staff. In some cases, a solution was found only after employees agreed to sign forms guaranteeing to take responsibility for particular plants.”
At the time, other institutions scoffed at the seemingly heartless move to save a few bucks, claiming you’d never catch them following suit. And yet? According to the Times, Goldman is not alone. Read more »