In delivering a blistering media attack on Goldman Sachs yesterday, has Greg Smith also made himself unemployable by damaging his own reputation? After all, he could have simply resigned without resorting to a public excoriation of his erstwhile employer where he accused them of treating their clients like mere Muppets to be profitably ripped off.
One would certainly expect that someone of Mr. Smith’s apparent intellectual caliber would have consulted a lawyer before making such an indictment, but who knows? Smart people sometimes do dumb things. This is actually a major reason why ORM firms like Velvet Talk Management exist: to help good people overcome the negative and otherwise long-lasting damage they do to their reputations online with one ill-advised move.
You can almost smell the libel lawsuits that are likely to be filed against Mr. Smith by Goldman Sachs and its CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein and president Gary D. Cohn. But then again, maybe their PR team will tell them that legal action would only focus more negative attention on them and their firm.
And, maybe Greg Smith’s comments are not so ill-advised after all. It’s not implausible to posit that they may have merely been a prelude to him accepting an already promised senior position in government that can safely justify his comments.
Just think how the Obama administration could strengthen its own reputation with the electorate if it were to now appoint a high-profile czar to root out corruption on wall street.
For those who haven’t yet read Greg Smith’s Op-ed piece in yesterday’s New York Times, here’s the link.