The real impact of the Greg Smith memo
I noted recently that Vanity Fair weighed in on the Goldman Sachs CEO succession battle, handicapping the race and speculating about when a transition might occur.
The entire article is now online and what a delicious read it is, in part because of its analysis of the Greg Smith memo. Some people are inclined to see the memo as a one-day story. It's true that the incident has faded from the headlines, but the article makes clear that it detonated with massive force inside the gilded bank.
The biggest "reason the op-ed resonated is that Smith is not a lone voice from inside Goldman. He merely said publicly what many former employees—who in times past would never have criticized the firm—now say privately: Goldman has changed. Once, when promotions were decided, being a 'culture carrier'—Goldman lingo for a person who is a positive force for the things the firm says it values—was at least as important as being 'commercial,' i.e., someone who excels at making money. Not anymore: being commercial, I'm told, is more of a deciding factor."
A former Goldman senior banker was quoted saying, "What really bugs me about G.S. today is not that it's immoral. It's amoral."
Some former executives think the company is at a critical crossroads. Which will likely keep the succession issue alive and well. Icontinue to wonder what the board thinks about this issue -- and about the article. It certainly cannot ignore either.