8:47 am Mar. 16, 2012
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, at least, feels for Goldman Sachs.
"I just wanted to say to the people at Goldman, ‘Look, I’ve never worked at Goldman, but there’s an awful lot of people there that work very hard,'" said the mayor during his regular Friday morning appearance on the John Gambling radio show. "They pay taxes. They live in this city. And we want to have more companies come and locate here.’"
On Wednesday, a longtime Goldman staffer named Greg Smith wrote an op-ed in the New York Times entitled, "Why I am leaving Goldman Sachs," in which he described a cultural shift under Goldman C.E.O. Lloyd Blankfein away from putting the client first, and toward making as much money off of that client as possible.
"Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as 'muppets,' sometimes over internal e-mail," he wrote.
Upon the letter's publication, a media storm ensued.
"I gather you stopped by Goldman Sachs yesterday after the article and the resignation letter that was published in the Times," said Gambling this morning.
"Yeah, I did," said Bloomberg. "I thought this piling on is ridiculous. Goldman’s a big employer in this city. Keep in mind, their clients tend to be corporations and financial institutions that aren’t unsophisticated. You can deal with them or not deal with them."
"You know you go to work for a company, it seems to me they have an obligation to never dis you," said the mayor. "They can part company with you, but they should never do that. Nor should an employee ever walk away, and after being there for so long, you walk away from your friends and you walk away from an employer who took a risk on you."
The mayor went on to disparage the ensuing press reports about the letter.
"And I thought the news coverage was, ‘ridiculous’ isn’t even quite the right word," said Bloomberg. "I thought it was not up to what we should do. And I will say there was a Bloomberg View, the editorial part of Bloomberg, wrote something, which I had nothing to do with. But when I read it, I thought the guy that wrote it had it exactly right. He said, Surprise surprise, Goldman is not the Make-a-Wish Foundation. They're a company that’s here to make money. That’s what they do!"
"Well, that’s what I said yesterday," agreed Gambling. "When somebody asked me about having the Goldman people allegedly call clients 'muppets,' I said, if you’re returning 12 to 13 percent to me, you can call me anything you want."
"I think that is fair," said the mayor. "And 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 100 years and it’s a great firm, and the people that work there are happy. And it's my job to stand up and support companies that are here in this city that bring us a tax base and that employ our people and I’m gonna do that."
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