Goldman Sachs is still in damage-control mode after a former executive director named Greg Smith published a scathing op-ed in the New York Times. In his letter, Smith denounces the company’s corporate culture and accuses certain members of the firm of having a palpable disdain for their clients.
“It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off,” Smith writes. “Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as ‘muppets,’ sometimes over internal e-mail.”
Quick side note: In the U.S., “muppet” means “singing frog/sock puppet.” In the U.K., it means “moron.” We assume the Goldman Sachs employees intended the meaning of the latter rather than the former.
When the rest of the world read that Goldman Sachs (allegedly) treats its clients like saps, CEO Lloyd Blankfein immediately set about cleaning up the company’s image.
“Goldman Sachs has begun scanning internal emails for the term ‘muppet’ and other evidence that employees referred to clients in derogatory ways,” CNBC reports. Well. That should fix their problem right away.
Oddly enough, Blankfein didn’t mention what actions would be taken if they actually found a “muppet” in their internal emails.
During a conference call this week, Blankfein said the company was taking the damaging claims seriously and was “conducting a review of his assertions, including the email scan.”
This isn’t the first step in damage-control Blankfein has taken. Last week, he distributed an internal memo, asserting that whatever Smith saw/heard did not “represent the values or culture” of Goldman Sachs.
But the decision to scan internal emails probably stems from the fact that the company has no idea how accurate Smith’s allegations are.
“Typically, when Goldman employees have an issue with co-workers or processes such as the ones Smith described, they can take concerns to a supervisor or report them anonymously to human resources,” CNBC points out.
However: “Because Smith is no longer at the company and his resignation op-ed did not specify circumstances or people, Goldman has been conducting a broad review to determine whether his assertions are accurate.”