October 24, 2012
It was the op-ed that shook Wall Street.
Greg Smith’s good-bye missive titled “Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs,” published in the New York Times in March hit a nerve and drew passionate responses from former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, General Electric CEO Jack Welch and Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
But the message Smith, a former Goldman Sachs employee, wanted to send wasn’t that Wall Street is bad, but that the way it does business needs to change.
“Frankly, I’m not against Wall Street, or against Goldman,” he told Leonard Lopate on Wednesday. “I just want them to become more transparent and do business that doesn’t endanger all of society.”
For Smith, the big change in corporate culture occurred with the deregulation that began in 2000 “and you saw this evolution from seeing the client as a partner to seeing the client as an adversary that you almost tried to befuddle into doing things they didn’t understand,” he said.
And the problem is not necessarily one of markets but of people who push the letter of the law and sometimes go over it.
He spoke with Lopate about his new book, Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story, which picks up where his op-ed left off. Listen to the full interview below: