Goldman Sachs Shareholders Keeping Executive Suite In Stitches

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A few months ago, a number of Goldman Sachs shareholders suggested that they have some sort of say on Lloyd Blankfein and the rest of his team's pay. At the time LB and Co humored them because of the whole public image crap, and since it'd been suggested in their sensitivity training classes to "take a second and listen to what others have to say," no matter how stupid they may be. Finally the torturous period of enforced "acting like you care" ended and my god, it felt so good to fire off a note letting clients know that next time, before drafting a letter full of feelings and ideas re: how the company should be run, to ask thyself, "Does anyone in the c-suite give a shit about what I think?" Most people feel in line but either the scamps at the Christian Brothers Investment Services didn't get the memo or they're trying to workshop some sort of comedy routine because what they're suggesting is a real gas.

A call for the separation of the powers of Goldman Sachs chairman and chief executive Lloyd Blankfein at the next annual meeting relies on the UK example as part of its arguments. Among the seven extra resolutions proposed by Goldman Sachs investors at the annual meeting in New York next month, the Christian Brothers Investment Services group wants the chairman to be an independent member of the board.

Pointing to the UK and other international centres, the Christian Brothers say that an independent chairman "can enhance investor confidence in our company and strengthen the integrity of the board".

First off, when it comes to LB, you don't separate anything, nuclear powered nutsacks or otherwise. Second, "strengthen the integrity of the board"? Lloyd has integrity (charm and panache) oozing out of every known and unknown orifice. You couldn't jam any more integrity into that thing if you tried.

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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 had made an imprint on his soul. Things that he couldn't forget. 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: