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Posts Tagged ‘Goldman Sachs’

Goldman Sachs Will Address The Court of Public Opinion Now

Today marks a Very Serious Literary Event: the release of Wall Street turncoat/general sad sack Greg Smith’s highly anticipated non-fiction debut, Why I Left Goldman Sachs.

Smith’s book expands upon an op-ed he wrote for The New York Times back in March in which he decried his former employer’s once-noble culture as “toxic and destructive” while claiming to be shocked at “how callously people talk about ripping their clients off”. The article’s best-known revelation was the fact that managers referred to their clients as “muppets”—and not in an endearing Fozzie Bear kind of way.

First the obvious: Most Americans don’t think too highly of Goldman Sachs right now, no matter what Mr. Smith says. When Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone referred to the company as a “great vampire squid”, he wasn’t just engaging in colorful hyperbole: According to the widely cited YouGov Brand Index, GS remains engaged in a bad-PR battle with JPMorgan Chase to determine which financial organization Americans hate most.

Politicians may have plenty of love for Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein, but the average “man on the street” feels differently. So how will the biggest name in investment banking deal with its most visible enemy? Until now, the organization has largely ignored Mr. Smith, but a curious internal memo reveals that this is no longer the case.

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Goldman Sachs Has Tweeted Six* Times

Goldman Sachs has a new Twitter account, launched on Friday for its shareholder meeting. And what did we learn from those meeting updates? That the account was live, shareholders support everything the company is doing, and the meeting is over. Riveting.

The other four tweets have focused on the company’s CSR efforts — investments in clean tech and renewable energy — and its work with small businesses. The company has nearly 12,000 followers.

The account is part of a new PR campaign launched by the financial firm’s communications head, Richard Siewert Jr., who started just as Greg Smith blew our minds with his New York Times resignation letter to the world. Siewert has been holding internal meetings explaining the new strategy, which is based on increased transparency. We’ll need a little more than these first few tweets.

*Make that seven times, as of 5/29 a.m.

Many Reactions to the Goldman Op-Ed Focus on Greg Smith

Reactions to Greg Smith’s censure of the “new” Goldman Sachs have fallen into a few categories. Some went the funny route, like The Borowitz Report, which joked that only the “finest sociopaths” work at the firm and “announced” that LRA leader Joesph Kony would be replacing Smith. Darth Vader announced he was leaving the Empire. And Don Draper explained why he’s quitting cigarettes.

Some tried to show a little sympathy for Richard Siewert Jr., who only just started his job as the head of comms at Goldman and is already up to his eyeballs. A lengthy memo went out from Goldman execs Lloyd Blankfein and Gary Cohen (we wouldn’t be surprised if Siewert had a look at it), that gets credit from Dukas PR CEO Richard Dukas for being a measure better than the initial statement.

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Research Finds Greg Smith Has A Point: People Don’t Trust Financial Companies

Coincidentally, Edelman has released some further detail from its Trust Barometer focused squarely on financial institutions. Given the drubbing that Goldman Sachs took today at the hands of Greg Smith, let’s take a closer look at the findings, shall we.

The Barometer found that 46 percent of respondents don’t trust financial services. And 41 percent don’t trust banks. This is up from 2011 when trust was only at 25 percent. This Goldman article might drive that number back down the toilet.

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Exec’s Resignation Op-Ed Confirms What We Already Knew About Goldman Sachs

The one percent is turning on itself!

“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,” writes Greg Smith in the New York Times opinion piece that has got Goldman Sachs trending on Twitter. After 12 years with the company, Smith, an executive with the financial powerhouse, tendered his resignation with the op-ed, saying that the company is so “toxic” he can’t identify with it anymore.

“The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years,” Smith goes on to say, describing a company that once worked with integrity, humility, and care for its clients. But no more. Now, it’s all about making money, no matter what.

“It astounds me how little senior management gets a basic truth: If clients don’t trust you they will eventually stop doing business with you. It doesn’t matter how smart you are,” he says. Preach!

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Goldman Sachs Replaces Its Corp Comms Head

Lucas van Praag

Whispers about the pending departure of Goldman Sachs’ global head of corporate communications turned out to be true.

New York magazine confirmed late yesterday that the company had replaced Lucas van Praag, a 12-year veteran of the company and its voice post-economic meltdown, with Richard “Jake” Siewert Jr.

Siewert was previously a counselor to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. According to Bloomberg, “Hiring Siewert may help bolster Goldman Sachs’s links with the Democratic Party in the U.S., which controls the Senate and the White House under President Barack Obama.” Employees have already given hundreds of thousands to the Romney campaign, though donations to Obama topped $1 million during the last election.

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Goldman Sachs Faces Off With Shareholders

Goldman Sachs had its annual shareholders meeting in New Jersey on Friday. So Lloyd Blankfein had the chance to sit in front of a room full of investors and explain why he got a $5.4 million bonus last year even though stocks were down 38 percent. Seriously, this guy must have cajones as big as his bald head. At this point, there are no plans for the CEO to step down.

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‘Friend’lier Headlines for Goldman With Facebook Investment?

Goldman chief exec Lloyd Blankfein

Goldman Sachs‘ $450 million investment in Facebook may be just what both companies need. Goldman didn’t exactly emerge popular from the financial crisis, and for all its fans, Facebook “ranked last among e-business in customer satisfaction last year,” a Wall Street Journal MarketWatch story says.

Business Insider says “Goldman’s reputation is enhanced as it’s seen as Facebook’s banker.” That’s a nice switch for the firm from the Reuters blog headline that called its reputation “in tatters” back in April.

And the move both bodes well for Facebook as a growth company and pushes chatter about the company as an IPO candidate to the forefront, the article suggests.

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Goldman’s New Ads

Goldman’s doing good. That’s what a new series of ads is set to show, according to a CNBC story. Goldman Sachs had a full pager in today’s Wall Street Journal “touting the company’s role in raising capital for a clean energy project,” the story says. It suggests the ad as the start of a “new public relations campaign” for the firm, which has faced multiple reputation-related struggles, especially since the financial crisis began.

While we wouldn’t quite call it PR, it does seem to be an attempt to spruce up the firm’s image. The article sees it as an effort to show Goldman’s positive contributions to various communities.

Goldman, in short, is trying to show how it is playing a role at improving the lives of Americans rather than simply increasing its bottom line.

Other ads will allegedly highlight how Goldman helps women and small business owners via business education.

Almost a year ago, we asked you if Goldman Sachs’ initiative to invest $500 million into 10,000 U.S. small businesses changed your perception of the company.

Maybe it’s time to ask again. Do you think the new ads will help?

Goldman Sachs’ $1 Million PR Man


It was only a matter of time before a Lucas Van Praag feature story popped up, and we have one today, by CNBC’s Charlie Gasparino in The Daily Beast. Van Praag runs PR for Goldman Sachs, and is facing quite the challenge of managing the brand’s reputation through perhaps its most trying times.

Sources told Gasparino Van Praag is well respected at Goldman, and his job is safe, for now. However, a “shift in public-relations strategy is in the works,” including bringing on more online and broadcast media consultants. Of course, this is one reason why every agency CEO has been offering free advice to the firm via blog posts and other public statements. They are all salivating at what could be the largest financial services account in the country.

Gasparino also reports what many have assumed. Van Praag is the “highest paid flack on Wall Street and one of the top-earning mouthpieces in all of corporate America, with an annual compensation that has (particularly during the good years) well exceeded $1 million.”