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Goldman Sachs Exec Exits With a Bang

We’re guessing that outgoing Goldman Sachs executive director Greg Smith’s last day on the job Wednesday was pretty awkward, given what he had to say about his employer in a scorching Op-Ed article printed in The New York Times for the occasion. Easy for the London-based trader to say after 12 years at the megafirm and untold millions made? Maybe, but here’s a look at what he tossed over his shoulder on his way out.

And here’s some analysis the Times published simultaneously to put Smith’s salvo in a broader context. –KA

Greg Smith in The New York Times:

How did we get here? The firm changed the way it thought about leadership. Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing. Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence.

What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm’s “axes,” which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) “Hunt Elephants.” In English: get your clients — some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t — to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like selling my clients a product that is wrong for them. c) Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym.

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