Goldman Sachs’s Cooper Disputes Greg Smith’s Account

Goldman Sachs’s Cooper Disputes Ex-Employee’s Account of Firm
“Nothing that Greg suggested rang true to me,” said Edith Cooper, global head of human capital management at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Photographer: Graham Morrison/Bloomberg

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. found no support for claims by Greg Smith, a former employee, that the firm has stopped putting clients first, said Edith Cooper, global head of human capital management.

“As we looked into his claims I was very pleased to see there wasn’t merit,” Cooper, 51, said on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers” with Erik Schatzker and Stephanie Ruhle. “My biggest disappointment in this is that Greg Smith didn’t come forward and speak to us.”

Goldman Sachs, the fifth-biggest U.S. bank by assets, is fighting back against Smith, who ended a 12-year career at the firm on March 14 with a New York Times opinion piece that called the environment at the bank “toxic and destructive,” and said senior staff referred to clients by the derogatory term “muppets.”

Smith has written a book about his career at the firm, entitled “Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story,” that goes on sale Oct. 22.

A 33-year-old South African who graduated from Stanford University, Smith is the first former employee to write a critical account of New York-based Goldman Sachs. The 143-year-old firm was once the most profitable on Wall Street and counts among its alumni two former U.S. Treasury secretaries and the European Central Bank president.

Goldman Sachs says that Smith, before he resigned, was denied a promotion and a $1 million pay package he had sought. The firm also says that Smith was the lowest-paid among the vice presidents who started in the same training class, and that a third of those classmates had been promoted to managing director.

“Nothing that Greg suggested rang true to me,” Cooper said. “I don’t see what he suggests are challenges at the firm and I believe our culture is stronger than it’s ever been.”

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