In conversation with Goldman spox Jake Siewert, Gary said adieu to his troops and also engaged in a little light self-hagiography. While recapping his rise from a dyslexic Cleveland youth to the top of the finance food chain, Gary showed that he is ready for that Trump life by proclaiming that he is "a great, great, great listener" but he also conveyed that he might not be totally ready by neglecting to add that he is "probably the best listener." Gary also discussed his trader-borne toughness and how that has served him as an executive, and how he excels at "delivering tough messages harshly and delivering tough messages softly."
But the most touching part of Gary's goodbye came at the end, when Gary said his goodbye to the place he loves the most:
"Saying goodbye is hard. This has been 26 years - literally, I finish my 26th year next week - it's really hard. I always knew I would say goodbye, everyone needs to leave someday but it's hard. Y'know, I want to be remembered as a great partner, someone who everyone was comfortable calling, someone who everyone wanted to work with, someone who everyone wanted my opinion whether they agreed with me or disagreed with me. I think I was a hard worker. I never hesitated to get on a plane, I never hesitated to go somewhere, I never hesitated to deliver the tough message that needed to be delivered...But most importantly I think it does come down to the people, and that's what I'll remember and that's what I want to be remembered for. Goldman Sachs has a unique culture, and it's a culture that continues to evolve. I felt like I was part of the culture, and I was part of the evolution of the culture. I was here as a private company, I was here through the IPO, I've been here through the transition into a very public company where the vast majority of people here at Goldman Sachs don't remember the private company. But what I'll miss most is the people."
And then Gary brought it home in a way that makes us picture him in a long trench coat and sunglasses walking slowly across the astroturf fields just north of 200 West Street, one gloved hand triumphantly in the air as Simple Minds music blares across Battery Park and Lloyd Blankfein peers down from a corner window high above, tear-streaked face pressed to the glass as he mutters "Stay Goldman, Ponyboy. Stay Goldman."
"Now I'm going onto a spectacularly new challenge, and I'm sure many of those voids will get filled. But this spot in my heart, in my mind, will be here for a long time."
Stay Goldman forever.