Goldman Sachs executive’s noisy resignation puts Wall St in limelight

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND –  A Goldman Sachs executive who publicly criticized the firm’s “toxic” environment in the Op-Ed column of the New York Times Wednesday has sparked debate about whether any change has taken place on Wall Street since start of the financial crisis in 2008.

Greg Smith, head of US derivatives trading in London at the investment firm, decried in an unprecedented manner, a greed-infested corporate culture where “people talk about ripping their clients off”.

Goldman’s CEO Lloyd Blankfein replied that he was “disappointed to read the assertions made by this individual that do not reflect our values.”

Meanwhile CNN reported former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volker saying he believed Wall Street firms focus too much on maximizing profit and not enough on their clients’ interests.

William Cohan, author of a book about Goldman entitled “Money and Power” says “nothing has changed (because) incentives haven’t changed”. While many employees questioned Smith’s comments as those of a disgruntled employee, his letter  nonetheless went viral on the internet.

Reuters reports that JP Morgan Chairman Jamie Dimon, As a result of the uproar created by the resignation, warned employees in an internal memo “I want to be clear that I don’t want anyone here to seek advantage from a competitor’s alleged issues or hearsay—ever. It’s not the way we do business.”