Archive for October, 2012

Goldman Sachs Op-Ed Wasn’t a ‘Betrayal,’ Smith Tells 60 Minutes

Greg Smith, who resigned from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) with a March 14 opinion piece criticizing the firm’s treatment of clients, told “60 Minutes” that he doesn’t think he betrayed the bank.

“I don’t view it as a betrayal,” Smith said in a portion of the interview released by CBS Corp. (CBS) before the program airs Oct. 21. “I actually think the leaders of Goldman Sachs today don’t have the long-run interests of the institution at heart. The idea of the op-ed was not to do any destruction.”

About $2.15 billion was wiped from Goldman Sachs’s market value the day the New York Times published Smith’s article, which threatened to reignite political and popular distrust of Wall Street in general and Goldman Sachs in particular. Goldman Sachs responded by saying that surveys found most employees believed the firm treated clients well. The stock price, which recovered within a week as the company promised to investigate Smith’s assertions, is up 38 percent this year to $124.42.

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

Read the full article here.

IKEA gets slammed for — cultural sensitivity?

If a Saudi company were advertising its home goods in the United States, we would expect its marketing materials to include photos of both men and women, and we would expect most of the women not to have their bodies and hair hidden in the photos. Though there is plenty of diversity in this country, those are the cultural norms. And chances are that because this is a country of ethnic diversity as well, we’d expect the company’s catalogs and so forth to show some of that as well.

So I am puzzled about the criticism of furniture giant IKEA. If the criticism were for replacement parts that aren’t available when pieces break, as they almost inevitably do, or the lightweight quality of the furniture that accompanies its lightweight prices, it would be understandable — even if it seems almost impossible to furnish a college student’s room without a stop at the giant warehouse to consider whether the GAVIK or FILLSTA would make a better table lamp.

Read the full article here.

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