Goldman Sachs Exec Resigns via New York Times Op-Ed

Just when you thought you heard it all, another person makes an even bigger splash in the resignation pool.

Greg Smith, an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs, resigned today with an op-ed piece in the New York Times.

TODAY is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.

This type of anger and resentment is unfortunately becoming more and more common amongst employees but to see it come from the very top is somewhat, albeit not completely, surprising. The Financial Sector has gotten toxic, there’s no other way to put it (Occupy Wall Street anyone?). But what I find interesting is what Mr. Smith’s (how ironic) greatest disappointment is how Goldman Sachs management treated their clients.

It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail.

I wouldn’t be surprised if many of those “muppets” find another place to invest. Even if I weren’t someone being referred to as a muppet (or worse), just the possibility of it happening would send me running.

Or as Mr. Smith stated, “It astounds me how little senior management gets a basic truth: If clients don’t trust you they will eventually stop doing business with you. It doesn’t matter how smart you are.”

A truer statement has never been said.

While we’re on the subject, it looks like a trend is starting as another powerful executive has resigned via an editorial page. It just doesn’t have the same impact after it’s already been done via the New York Times. Even so, one can see that he makes a good point:

“The Empire today has become too much about shortcuts and not enough about remote strangulation. It just doesn’t feel right to me anymore.”