As many of you know, here at Dealbreaker we consider ourselves the preeminent scholars on Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn's grundle. Specifically, the grundle-to-face conversations he reportedly enjoys having with employees on the trading floor. So we were more than a little delighted to hear that Greg Smith's book, Why I Left Goldman Sachs, contained a passage describing Cohn's preferred position to assume while havin' a chat. Sayeth Smith: Gary had a very distinctive signature move, one he had become famous for within the firm; I must have seen it ten or fifteen times in action. It didn't matter if the person he was talking to was male or female; he would walk up to the salesman or saleswoman, hike up one leg, plant his foot on the person's desk, his thigh close to the employee's face, and ask how markets were doing. Gary was physically commanding, and the move could have been interpreted as a very primal, alpha-male gesture. I think he just thought it was comfortable. For those who have made claims that Smith's book is light on details that any exposé worth its salt would include, please note that reporters at investigative powerhouse Bloomberg News would probably nod approvingly at the above, based on an article they penned last year. Cohn, 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, can be intimidating, two former colleagues said. He would sometimes hike up one leg, plant his foot on a trader’s desk, his thigh close to the employee’s face, and ask how markets were doing, they said. Earlier: Succeeding Blankfein at Goldman May Be Hurdle Too High for Cohn
Earlier today, the Times reported that former Goldman Sachs employee Greg Smith-- he of third place Maccabiah Games finishes and very public breakup letters fame--, along with his newly acquired agent (Paul Fedorko), have been making the rounds at various publishing houses for the last week, pitching a book CNBC's Kate Kelly saysmay go for more than $1 million at auction. It’s still in the early stages, though, and most likey untitled. So! Let’s do him a solid and come up with some options. The tome is being pitched as a "coming-of-age story, the tale of someone who came into the business with good intentions and sky-high ideals that were ultimately pierced by Goldman’s obsessive focus on making money." So far all we've got are "Why They Don't Hug Anymore At Goldman Sachs," "Sixth-Balling Your Clients-- A Story Of Goldman Sachs," and "Den of Thieves: Tripping Over Ethics And My Shoe-Laces At Goldman Sachs." Surely you can do better.
Something you may have picked up on is that next week, Grand Central Publishing will release Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story, by former employee Greg Smith. Should you buy the book? That depends on you ask. Some people, like the ones who made Smith famous, say no. Others, like those who enjoy vivid descriptions of a naked Lloyd Blankfein and edge-of-your-seat ping pong matches, would probably say yes. One group of people who'd prefer you save your money? Goldman Sachs. As previously mentioned, the bank embarked on a Discredit Greg Smith tour last month which has involved equating him with a first or second or third-year analyst who thinks people care about all the crazy stuff he was privy to when in fact it wasn't crazy and no one does; leaking unflattering performance reviews that suggest he was "unrealistic" about his abilities and earnings potential; and generally painting a picture of someone who was a nobody at the firm ("My first reaction [to hearing about his Op-Ed] was, who is he," the firm's head of HR told Bloomberg TV this morning), who wrote his book out of spite for not receiving the bonus he thought he deserved, and whose claims re: The Firm should not be trusted. For the most part, a number of people-- from current to former employees to those familiar but not intimately familiar with Goldman-- have concurred with their assessment of young Greg. Of course, every now and then you have some individuals who speak out of turn and who should probably consider sleeping with one eye open. There are a lot of people who acknowledge these things internally, but no one is willing to say it publicly,” Smith, who was a vice president when he left Goldman Sachs, said in the “60 Minutes” interview. “And my view was the only way you force people to change the system is by saying it publicly.” Seven former Goldman Sachs partners and managing directors, positions that are more senior than vice president, said in March interviews that Smith shouldn’t be taken seriously because he was a junior employee and may have been disgruntled about his pay or career. All asked not to be identified because they didn’t want to risk ruining their relationship with the firm. Six of the seven said they agreed with Smith’s criticism of how the firm has treated clients under Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein, 58, and President Gary D. Cohn, 52, and that current members of the management committee would, too. Even so, they said they don’t expect the board of directors to take action or that anything will change because the bank has made money and outperformed most rivals. What? He shouldn't be trusted because of X, Y, Z but, having said that, he does make some excellent points? Do you hear yourself talking? This is what happens when you don't stick to the script! Goldman Sachs Op-Ed Wasn’t a ‘Betrayal,’ Smith Tells 60 Minutes [Bloomberg] *And will lucky if they're not eating out of feeding tubes..
His exit strategy is coming together nicely.
Lesson 1, according the first chapter of Why I Left Goldman Sachs to leak online: the difference between a sandwich and a salad. You needed to be very entrepreneurial and creative. Adding value as an intern often began with getting coffee for the desk every day; frequently, interns also did breakfast and lunch runs. You would literally take a pen and pad and go around to the ten or fifteen people on the desk and take everyone's order. It's a strange concept, but Wall Street looks at attention to detail as an indicator of how people are going to do in their job. If a kid keeps messing up the lunch order, he's probably going to mess up something else down the line. I remember one managing director-- a few years after I'd started working at the firm-- who was very sensitive about his lunch orders. He didn't eat onion or certain other things. One day he asked an intern for a cheddar cheese sandwich, and the kid came back with a cheddar cheese salad. The kid handed it to him so proudly: "Here's your cheddar cheese salad." I was sitting next to the MD, so I remember the incident well. He opened the container, looked at the salad, looked up at the kid, closed the container, and threw it in the trash. It was a bit harsh, but it was also a teaching moment. The managing director joked about it with the kid afterward; he didn't make a big deal about it. The lesson was learned. Chapter 1: "I Don't Know, But I'll Find Out" [PDF] Earlier: What Else Does Goldman Sachs Have In Store For Greg Smith?; Goldman Sachs Unimpressed By Sophomoric Writing Efforts Of Former Employee; Resignation Letter Reveals Goldman Sachs Is In The Business Of Making Money, Hires People Who Don’t Know How To Tie Their Shoes; Jewish Ping-Pong Tournament Participant / Sixth-Year Goldman Sachs Vice President Is Looking For His Next Challenge; Goldman Sachs Accuser Greg Smith (Might Have) Lied About That Which He Holds Most Sacred