Goldman Sachs executive director resigns via New York Times op-ed

Why I am leaving Goldman Sachs: “Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as ‘muppets,’ sometimes over internal e-mail,” writes Greg Smith in a New York Times Op-Ed about quitting the investment bank. It has set the Internet alight this morning.

• Why Goldman Sachs is not leaving Goldman Sachs: “In our view, we will only be successful if our clients are successful.”

Why I am joining Goldman Sachs: The new P.R. chief “declined to comment.”

Why I am leaving the Empire: “The Empire today has become too much about shortcuts and not enough about remote strangulation. It just doesn’t feel right to me anymore.”

Why you should “Deal with it or leave and open an Etsy store”: Screwing clients is what financial firms do, pal.

• We’ll be eavesdroping in the Goldman Sachs elevator for other responses later today.

Other departures:

Why I left Google: “The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.”

Why you’re leaving Gatehouse Media: Because you’re a copy editor, and not an executive due to get a large cash bonus in Q1.

56 people lost their jobs when VillageNet Media abruptly shut down all of its Maine papers.

Seven people leaving Rhode Island newspapering (hopefully temporarily): Layoffs at R.I.S.N. Operations, which owns the Kent County Daily Times, The Narragansett Times and other papers.

>> SORTA RELATED FLASHBACK: Resignation letters from journalists.

Non-leaving links:

• Despite Media General’s “bumbling, feckless management team,” Amit Chokshi sees some upsides to buying its newspaper division. Still: “bumbling.” “Feckless.”

• After Twitter bought Posterous, a lot of people moved their blogs to WordPress. WordPress says the acquisition “will be exciting for our friends at Twitter and well-earned for Posterous co-founder Sachin Agarwal,” then gives clear instructions on how to abandon Posterous. My colleague Jeff Sonderman draws some lessons for journalists from the ack.

• LANGUAGE CORNER: Chinese bloggers get around the “Golden Shield” with homonyms, irony, in-jokes. And an American linguist discusses the word “slut.” (h/t: my dad)

• TODAY IN DOONESBURY: Garry Trudeau says, “controversy is obviously good for business, especially if your business is satire.” Blue in Virginia says The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star practices selective outrage when it comes to language. The Athens Banner-Herald rethinks its decision not to confuse readers. And Nick Gillespie writes that Doonesbury would be great if it were funny.

• The race to write the best double-entendre Santorum headline will probably not be settled before June.

•  Alison Draper tells Michael Miner she is in fact looking for a buyer for the Chicago Reader, which according to this listicle is nearly as important as Washington City Paper.

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  • Casey Ryback

    Big deal. Rent the movie “Jerry Maquire.” Been done before. Just like “hope/change” and “I am going to stop government waste.”

  • Anonymous

    A considerable amount of time and effort went into compiling all of the other links and stories which follow the blurb about Mr. Smith’s revelations.

    All they do is dampen and bury the effect of what Mr. Smith says.

    This reminds me of Poynter’s mis-coverage of what Felix Salmon said at Columbia about coverage of the financial firms’ role in the collapse of the economy. He said that business journalists should not be counted on to break the story (because no one reads them and so they should be absolved); public interest journalists should do so because then it becomes a front-page story. (Poynter erroneously gave the impression that Mr. Salmon absolved ALL journalists.

    I can only think that Mr. Salmon was wrong. Poynter is supposed to practice public interest journalism (redundant, in my view, since journalism is supposed to help the public make informed decisions) and yet they are minimizing this story.

    Or, Poynter is less interested in informing the public than they claim.

    Here is the link to the Salmon article at Poynter

  • Anonymous

    Another instance of what is becoming a recurring theme at Poynter.

    The original article talks about how at Goldman Sachs “the environment is now toxic and destructive” and Mr. Beaujon chooses to represent its message by choosing the quote “Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as ‘muppets,’ sometimes over internal e-mail,”. This diminishes the thrust of the op-ed piece by Mr. Smith:
    1. It focuses on a 12-month period; Mr. Smith talks about the “trajectory of its culture” over the course of his 12 years in this way “The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for.”
    2. If focuses on five different managing directors; Mr. Smith talks about a culture that includes everyone. “I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them.”
    3. It focuses on the “muppets” remark, rather than Mr. Smith’s “To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money.”

    All of the quotes I provided appear BEFORE the muppets quote (all but one appear on the first web page; one has to click to page two to get to the muppets). Whatever the reason for skipping all of them in favor of the muppets quote, I would not call the result journalism.