Much has been made of the $2 billion Goldman Sachs lost in market value on Wednesday, the same day that the NY Times published an op-ed by a disgruntled employee who criticized the firm's new focus on money over clients. Now, Bloomberg News reports that the Times paid him $150 for his unsolicited views.
Greg Smith, who resigned that day, wrote, "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," only for the firm to release a statement, "We disagree with the views expressed, which we don’t think reflect the way we run our business. In our view, we will only be successful if our clients are successful. This fundamental truth lies at the heart of how we conduct ourselves."
Mayor Bloomberg also defended Goldman, visiting the firm and saying on his radio show, "I don't know whoever said what... But even if it was said, it's a few people and, you know, Goldman Sachs is a firm that's been around for well over a hundred years and it's a great firm." The NY Times also points out, "Goldman, in fact, has been a key contributor to Mr. Bloomberg’s wealth: the firm leases thousands of Bloomberg terminals, sending tens of millions of dollars a year to the mayor’s private company."
Bloomberg News points out that many Wall Street types have problems with how the Times published the op-ed, but editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal said they fact-checked everything they could fact-check: "The purpose of the op-ed page is to air an important position. We’re saying, ‘This is interesting,’ and by the way, ‘interesting,’ very often means it’ll make you crazy."
Mission accomplished! This is from Bloomberg News' editorial criticizing Smith: "We have some advice for Smith, as well as the thousands of college students who apply to work at Goldman Sachs each year: If you want to dedicate your life to serving humanity, do not go to work for Goldman Sachs. That’s not its function, and it never will be. Go to work for Goldman Sachs if you wish to work hard and get paid more than you deserve even so. (Or if you want to make your living selling derivatives but don’t know what a derivative is, as Smith concedes in passing that he didn’t at first.)"