Why did Greg Smith quit Goldman Sachs? Culture ! Moral Fiber !

We at HS have in the past carried out a couple of articles related to an employee’s decision to quit an employer and the factors that influence the decision. Today we come across a live and much visible case of an ex. employee of a global financial conglomerate documenting some factors that triggered his decision to leave his organization.

Greg Smith, has been at Goldman Sachs for more than 12 years and was positioned as Executive Director and Head of the company’s United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Greg is a Stanford University graduate and has been with Goldman Sachs as a summer intern, and as an executive with the company’s New York and London offices.

Greg had put across his thoughts in New York Times, most of which seem to be related to his perception about the way the company operated. The change in the company’s working style over a period of time, changes in its culture – with teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility gone missing, the company’s attitude towards the clients – with more focus on making money rather than keeping client’s interest in consideration etc. We are presenting some excerpts from his article in NY Times:

 the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money.”

“It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility..,……… It had something to do with pride and belief in the organization. I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years. I no longer have the pride, or the belief.”

I knew it was time to leave when I realized I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work.”  – Regarding his role in hiring of fresh graduates.

I truly believe that this decline in the firm’s moral fiber represents the single most serious threat to its long-run survival.”

Greg, has put across a number of question marks on the “way the firm operates” in his seemingly publicly tendered resignation. While the company has taken this case as a clear case of a disgruntled employee venting his anger on a public forum, I am sure you can appreciate some of his statements and may even be able to relate with some of these in context of some of your existing or past employers.

Note: The excerpts quoted above are from Greg’s article in New York Times. Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs

You are welcome to offer your views, comments on the article.

  • Have you ever felt similarly in your present or past organization?
  • Have your employees & team members left similar feedback about your organization?

– Research Team

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