Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS)’s decision to provide information about former employee Greg Smith’s pay and promotion requests to the media may scare staff at the firm about the privacy of their own reviews, Smith said.
“What are people at Goldman thinking? Are they thinking ‘Is this going to be leaked out to the public?’” Smith, 33, said in an interview today with Stephanie Ruhle on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.”
Goldman Sachs, the fifth-biggest U.S. bank by assets, said Smith was denied a raise and a promotion he sought in the months before he quit the firm with a New York Times op-ed piece that criticized how the company treated employees. Documents provided by the company to Bloomberg News showed one of Smith’s managers calling him “off the charts unrealistic” in his demands.
Smith, whose book “Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story” went on sale this week, said the information provided by the firm about him in a nine-page document withheld positive reviews he’d received.
Goldman Sachs should have “released all of my reviews from my entire career and read them out on air,” Smith said. “I’m disappointed that instead of shooting the messenger that Goldman Sachs doesn’t address the issues.”
Performance reviews and comments made in those reviews “are kept in strictest confidence,” Andrew Williams, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs in New York, said in an e-mailed statement. “Our people can and do rely on the confidentiality of that process.”
The book, which includes a description of Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein, 57, walking naked through the company gym’s changing room, undermines Smith’s call for privacy, Williams added.
“It’s hard to imagine that someone who writes a book describing the company CEO coming out of the shower, calling a female colleague the ‘Black Widow’ and detailing a close friend’s bachelor party has much standing on the issue of privacy,” Williams said in the statement.
“In the wake of Mr. Smith’s abrupt resignation, we had an obligation to our employees, shareholders and regulators to determine whether he had raised issues internally, and the performance reviews and a wealth of other evidence demonstrated that he had not,” Williams added. “This was a unique situation, and our employees recognize that.”