In an article today on the New York Times, after 12 years with the firm, Greg Smith publicly resigned as a Goldman Sachs executive director and head of the firm’s United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa
His primary reason for resigning and for the article was that Goldman Sachs had lost the spirit of helping it’s clients, and instead, had replaced that spirit with the attitude of “how much money did we make off the client?”. He stated that he personally had seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets”.
Smith’s public leaving of a successful position at Goldman after twelve years is significant on many levels because of Goldman’s power position in global finance, and the firm’s direct, often revolving door influence on governmental processes.
What is key though, is the undertone of his reasoning. Goldman’s self centered greed vs finding a win / win for the firm as well as it’s clients. In a capitalistic system Goldman must make money to survive, but Smith is another example of a general trend that is happening now toward the direction of our awakening.
One by one we are waking up to the benefit of working on behalf of others. As our awareness is expanding we are able to see that our own best course is one where we help each other, rather than selfishly pursuing our own interests at the expense of others.
We are recognizing that this is not a way of interacting with each other which is to be disregarded as altruistic and unachievable, as likely many of Smith’s colleagues believe today, but rather as a path that ultimately produces our own best position while at the same time, empowering others.
While Smith’s purpose for going public with his resignation was likely not the same point that I am making here, the undertone I took away was his recognition that Goldman’s original success was achieved by the spirit of helping it’s clients, not fleecing them.
You can read the full article here.