Why He Left Goldman Sachs, and Why They’re Not Worried

 Why He Left Goldman Sachs, and Why Theyre Not Worried

The PR Verdict: “B” (Good Show) to Goldman Sachs.

Breakups are never easy, and today sees the publication of a very long breakup letter. Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story is a memoir written by former Goldman employee Greg Smith. It follows up on Smith’s poison pen editorial of the same name, published in The New York Times in early March 2012. The consensus? Goldman Sachs’ board members can sleep easy.

Greg Smith used to be in equity derivatives sales. In upper management, he earned a more than respectable living of around $500k. Disillusioned by the alleged cynicism and hypocrisy of a culture that did not put clients first (supposedly referring to them as “Muppets”), Smith became more and more disenchanted, so goes his narrative, until one day the moral bankruptcy of the firm caused him to quit.

With Smith receiving a reported $1.5 million book advance for a memoir about his time at the firm, Goldman Sachs was presumably worried. But his former employer is now indicating that Smith’s memoirs are not as damaging as originally expected. Some of his reminiscences may not be pretty, but there’s nothing illegal or that surprising about them. As for Smith’s credibility, it seems GS has had its own well-executed PR plan to raise a cloud over their ex-employee’s widely reported griping.

The PR Verdict: “B” (Good Show) for Goldman Sachs’s softly-softly response in advance of publication.

The PR Takeaway:  Say what you need to say once, and then let others do the talking. In advance of Smith’s book launch, Goldman Sachs made available its 18-page internal report on Smith’s allegations to newswire Bloomberg.  The report reveals that prior to resigning, Smith allegedly wanted a 100 percent pay raise, was denied a promotion, and may not have been long for the firm. The report’s contents were widely repeated – not by GS, but by the media. The nagging doubt is now that Smith may have just been a disgruntled employee. No on the record comment from Goldman Sachs, but a volte face from the very media that covered the story in the first place. Now that’s effective PR.

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What’s your opinion of Greg Smith’s book, and Goldman Sachs’s response? Give us your PR Verdict!

Should John Edwards’s Mistress Tell All?

 Should John Edwardss Mistress Tell All?

The PR Verdict: “D” for Rielle Hunter, John Edwards’s mistress.

Rielle Hunter, former mistress of Senator John Edwards and mother of his love child, is ready for her moment in the sun. Having previously been moved to and from various safe houses to avoid media scrutiny, as though she was in a witness protection program, Hunter is now poised for interviews. The Justice Department has confirmed it will not retry the case of campaign finance fraud against her former beau, and Hunter’s publicist says she will now end her “silence.”

Hunter is no stranger to the media. A filmmaker herself, she bared all in an interview with GQ in 2010. Describing her affair with Edwards as  a “magnetic force field,” she told readers, “I know he loves me… I have never had any doubt at all about that.”

Hunter is setting the record straight with interviews on ABC’s  “20/20,” and a host of other media appearances. What’s new? Her tell-all book, What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me. Hunter’s PR said, “Ms. Hunter is looking forward to speaking the truth, and we believe [interviewer] Chris Cuomo will allow her story to be told with candor and respect.”

The PR Verdict: “D” (It’s a Dud) for Rielle Hunter and her forlorn stab at publicity. Hasn’t her moment passed?

PR Takeaway:  Choosing the right moment is just as important as realizing when that moment has passed. Despite her claim that she remains devoted to Edwards, Hunter risks pulling jurors’ reactions out of the woodwork and reigniting lurid details from the trial (and talk of Edward’s deceased wife Elizabeth) that Team Edwards is presumably keen to put behind it. Making the transition from “the other woman”  to something more neutral is where Hunter’s PR salvation lies. Our suggestion: Follow the Camilla Parker-Bowles PR template on how to rehabilitate an image.

What’s your PR Verdict–should Rielle Hunter capitalize on her claim to fame or move on? Tell us in Speak Your Mind, below.