Goldman Sachs Exec Resigns via Angry New York Times Op-Ed

Calling the environment he works in "toxic and destructive," an executive director of Goldman Sachs announced he's quitting the firm today because he can no longer stomach what his beloved company has become. And just to make sure he drives the point home to his bosses, his resignation letter is now on the Opinion Page of Wednesday's edition of The New York Times.

RELATED: Goldman's Going on a 'Muppet' Hunt

Greg Smith, whose former job description is listed as "executive director and head of the firm’s United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa," summed up his feelings rather succinctly in the opening paragraphs:

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. Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important investment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for.

Smith goes on to place the blame squarely on CEO Lloyd Blankfein and president Gary Cohn, for letting firm's "moral fiber" deteriorate on their watch. Instead of "teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients," he says that making money has become the driving force of all of Goldman's decisions (especially promotions), usually at the expense of the client's best interests.

RELATED: Greg Smith's Memoir May Double His Goldman Sachs Salary

These complaints, of course, are the same charges that have been lobbed at Goldman for years, particularly since the economic meltdown in 2008. The accusations in the piece almost could have been written by Matt Taibbi himself. (Minus the caustic name calling, of course.) But to hear them now, from a former true believer — Smith started at the firm as intern 12 years ago, and has been there ever since graduating from Stanford — makes them particularly damning. Teaching the next generation of junior analysts that profit is all that matters ensures a future generation of executives who have known nothing else.

RELATED: Greg Smith Will Get Three Years' Salary For Goldman Sachs Book

Smith ultimately calls on Goldman to change its tune before all its clients figure out that they're getting ripped off and jump ship. A nice sentiment, but one that is hard to imagine playing out anytime soon. The fact that Smith would choose to leave rather than fight back suggests the patient is too far gone to save. Even worse, the fact that Goldman — despite a rough year of earnings and a public approval rating rivaling Congress — is still one of Wall Street's most powerful firms, suggests that the "Vampire Squid" really can't be killed.

  • Thursday #sgroundup: Body found of boy who made first call from Korea ferry: report 15 minutes ago
    Thursday #sgroundup: Body found of boy who made first call from Korea ferry: report

    Here are today’s top trending stories in case you missed them.

  • Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day 11 hours ago
    Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day

    If there's one car that's particularly sought-after among today's well-heeled car collectors, a Ferrari 250 would be it. Usually it's the GTO variant, like the 1963 that sold for a record $52 million last year. A 250 of any sorts demands unfathomable cash, however, which is why we can but gawk at this 250 Testa Rossa. It's as close as any mere mortal will ever come to owning one.

  • Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners 12 hours ago
    Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners

    Buyers of Ferraris or Jaguars are used to perks from manufacturers – including racetrack lessons to help master their exotic machines. But for enthusiasts on a tighter budget, the Ford ST Octane Academy might be the sweetest deal in motoring: Buy a Ford Fiesta ST or Focus ST hatchback, and the reward is a free day of training at one of America’s longest, most-lavish road courses.

  • David Moyes statement after Man United firing
    David Moyes statement after Man United firing

    Statement released by David Moyes on Wednesday, a day after Manchester United announced he left as manager after less than a season in charge.

  • Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia
    Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Armed pirates boarded a Singapore-managed oil tanker in the Strait of Malacca, kidnapping three Indonesian crew and stealing some of the vessel's shipment of diesel fuel, the International Maritime Bureau said Wednesday. The attack occurred early Tuesday off Malaysia's west coast, said Noel Choong, head of IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre. The diesel oil tanker was believed to be en route to Myanmar. "IMB is aware of the attack on the Singapore-managed ship in the Malacca Straits.

  • Indonesian general says his flashy watch is a fake
    Indonesian general says his flashy watch is a fake

    JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's military commander said critics who called him out for wearing an especially luxurious watch should be quiet because the timepiece is actually a cheap Chinese fake.