Why I Am STAYING With Goldman Sachs

quit Why I Am STAYING With Goldman Sachs

The PR Verdict: “B” for Goldman for a sensible response.

There was no basket of muffins, let alone an apple waiting on the desk for the newly appointed head of PR at Goldman Sachs, Jake Siewert on his first day yesterday.  Instead he was greeted with a big fat op-ed in the New York Times, written by resigning employee, Greg Smith, provocatively called Why I Am leaving Goldman Sachs.

The article was remarkable for its candor.  Citing an ongoing malaise and dysfunction within the firm, Smith described Goldman as “toxic” with a cultural bias that has Goldman routinely prioritising profits over  clients.   The article has created a huge amount of noise in both mainstream and social media.

Goldman’s defence was simple;  without putting clients first, the business would not exist.  Rather than take him on publicly, an internal staff memo was issued and leaked to the media.  The memo referred to the latest statistics on Goldman employee satisfaction and concluded that it was  aware that it didn’t get everything always right.  In so doing, it took some of the force out of Smith’s more generalised complaints.

The PR Verdict: “B” for Goldman for a sensible reply designed to defuse the situation on day one.  But what might be the best PR answer to counter Smith and show employees and clients that he got it wrong over the next week or so?

If the heat continues and internally there is a perception that the firm has not taken a tough enough stand, how about asking the NYTimes for a right of reply?  Submit an op-ed by a client  or employee called Why I have STAYED with Goldman Sachs answering directly some of the issues raised by Smith.  Even better, make it from someone connected to Smith’s ex-business, equity derivatives.  The power of the cuttings archive is undisputed and without a response, Smith’s op-ed will have the last say.  Goldman’s might want to call on friends for an alternative view.

To read the op-ed click here and to read more about the Goldman memo click here

What’s your verdict on how Goldman have handled this issue:

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What is Your PR Verdict?

  1. Paul Marrone Paul Marrone says:

    Extolling your virtues either directly or through third-parties is difficult in the eye of a crisis. In this case Smith’s theme of GS focus on short-term profits and clients take a back seat is not a new theme for the Street or GS to hear. While some may feel the need to respond and defend, perception and legacy of greed weigh heavily against balancing this event. One of those “this too will pass” events takes some intestinal fortitude by defensive execs but may be better way to go.

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