Today, Goldman Sachs employee Greg Smith excoriated the investment bank in a New York Times op-ed, resigning due to the banks “toxic and destructive” culture, one in which the bank’s trading profits took precedence over its customers’ financial well-being. Goldman managers allegedly called customers “muppets,” and traders routinely asked how much was being made ripping off one customer or another.
Goldman has been quick to push back on Smith’s claims, portraying him as just a disgruntled employee. Some employees told Fox Business’ Charlie Gasparino that Smith doesn’t know what he’s talking about because he “never made more than $750,000 a year.”
And of course, the financial press has begun reporting anonymous attacks on Smith, quoting “people familiar with the matter” saying that Smith was angry with the size of his bonus and his lack of promotion:
– The Wall Street Journal reported that “people familiar with the matter” said that Smith is just miffed that his bonus was small: “The circumstances of Mr. Smith’s departure aren’t entirely clear. When Goldman doled out annual bonuses earlier this year, Mr. Smith’s small payment became a point of friction, according to people familiar with the matter.”
– Forbes’ Nathan Vardi wrote that Smith is just “having a midlife crisis“: “Smith is not the first person who wants to tell his former bosses to shove it. He is also not a whistleblower.”
The financial prognosticators at CNBC decided to mock Smith, saying that he would go form a media firm with Rolling Stone writer and staunch Goldman critic Matt Taibbi and the characters from Sesame Street. CNBC also compared Smith to Tom Cruise’s character in Jerry Maguire, airing the clip of that film when Cruise asks “who’s coming with me?” repeatedly, with no one actually going with him. Fox Business, meanwhile, insinuated that Smith just left because he didn’t get a promotion and was paid a small bonus. Watch a compilation:
Bloomberg’s William Cohan, author of “Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World,” said today that Smith is “now in the Witness Protection Program” due to his sure ostracism from Wall Street.