Ex-Goldman Colleagues: Greg Smith Wanted More Money, Not Better Values

Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, attends the Clinton Global Initiative, Monday, Sept. 24, 2012 in New York
Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, attends the Clinton Global Initiative, Monday, Sept. 24, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Greg Smith, the banker who publicly resigned from Goldman Sachs citing a "toxic" environment, really just wanted more money, his ex-colleagues allege.

Smith resigned with a flaming op-ed in The New York Times in March, bashing the firm for allegedly focusing on money at all costs. Now Smith has a tell-all book coming out this month about his 12-year career there. But some of his ex-colleagues have launched a preemptive attack by anonymously leaking unsavory details about Smith to the Financial Times.

Smith's ex-colleagues portray a banker that was dissatisfied not with the firm's values, but with his paycheck. In his most recent performance reviews, Smith gave his 13 colleagues an average score of 9 for "culture and values": the highest possible score, according to the FT.

Meanwhile, Smith's request to his managers to more than double his pay from $450,000 per year to more than $1 million, was rebuffed, his ex-colleagues told the FT. He also failed to get promoted to the position of managing director before resigning, according to Dealbook.

Still, the timing of Smith's resignation seems to have paid off. He appears to have collected his final bonus check before publicly resigning. Then he landed a $1.5 million advance for his book, "Why I Left Goldman Sachs," which is scheduled to be published on Oct. 22. His long-term plans are unclear, but some commentators have noted that Smith probably would have a hard time landing a job at another big bank.

Smith claimed in his NYT op-ed that his colleagues would brag about ripping clients off and that five different managing directors referred to their clients as "muppets," or idiots, sometimes over e-mail. But in a follow-up investigation, Goldman Sachs reportedly did not find evidence of this in internal emails. Goldman Sachs found that one email sent to Smith did refer to clients as "muppets," but that the salesperson that sent the email actually was trying to help said "muppets" understand a trade, according to a separate FT article.

Goldman Sachs has launched a PR offensive since hiring a new public relations director from the Treasury Department earlier this year. In recent months, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has generated positive headlines by expressing his support for gay marriage and some provisions of Dodd-Frank financial reform, as well as his opposition to severe austerity.



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