Nothing is sacred anymore at Goldman Sachs, maybe not even a Chick-fil-A dinner.
FOX Business learned that in 2019, first-year banking associates vigorously debated the desirability of eating the fast-food chain’s popular chicken sandwiches at a planned dinner at the company’s Manhattan headquarters.
The reason for the objections: the fundamentalist Christian views of the network’s chief executive, Dan Cathy, who in 2012 spoke out against same-sex marriage.
Amid a backlash, Cathy clarified his comments that those were his personal beliefs and that he and the company respect all of their clients. Still, a vigorous debate ensued among associates, some defending the preference for food and others raising objections, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Eventually, Goldman’s management stepped in, these people say. The verdict: Chick-fil-A would be allowed to eat, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.
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A Goldman spokesperson said: “I have consulted with five people on the bench, and no one has heard of a Chick-fil-A incident,” adding: “I cannot guarantee (or confirm) that it did not happen, but the The idea that there is a policy that requires the approval of senior officials is silly. “
The Chick-fil-A drama, others at Goldman tell FOX Business, is part of a broader cultural revolution at the prestigious white shoe investment bank. He’s taking on a new generation of millennial and Gen Z employees who wake up against the firm’s veterans who want to defend the more conservative and sometimes Goldman corporate work culture.
In recent months, this breach has spread to leaked internal documents in which first-year associates have complained that their 100-hour workweeks cause illness, lack of sleep and other physical ailments.
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Many Goldman veterans scoff at all the complaints and attribute it to millennials’ angst over a long tradition that has made Goldman the world’s leading investment bank.
Caught in the crossfire has been Goldman CEO David Solomon, who has become the object of contempt among many younger employees for endorsing long work hours as a rite of passage for those who want to succeed in the bank.
“He’s the worst,” said a millennial who works at Solomon’s firm.
Over the past month, some Goldman employees criticized Solomon for using the company’s private jet to work from his mansion in the Bahamas while demanding an end to work-from-home allowances due to the pandemic.
Solomon believes that employees are more productive working from the office. As proof, he cited the example of a young Goldman staff member who, instead of struggling to make deals, was having a leisurely lunch at a Hamptons restaurant during business hours and even had the gall to introduce himself to the CEO of Goldman. sitting at a nearby restaurant table.
But Goldman associates say Solomon should practice what he preaches. He also spends a lot of time working in both the Bahamas and the Hamptons, where he indulges in one of his favorite hobbies as a guest DJ under the pseudonym “DJ D-Sol.”
“It’s a generational issue and nothing more,” scoffed a former Goldman partner who spoke on condition of anonymity. “These children have been educated in a different way and attended schools that took pleasure in their alleged victim status.”
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Meanwhile, investors are cheering for Solomon. Goldman’s shares rose more than 140% over the past year, twice the rise of the S&P 500. The business is said to be flourishing within Goldman’s much-acclaimed investment banking department, which is one of the reasons why junior employees work so many hours.
Executives at the firms are signaling to investors to expect a big bang in the first quarter of 2021, when Goldman reports earnings on April 14, FOX Business learns.
Solomon noted that the first quarter will be strong in a video memo posted over the weekend. He told Goldman’s 38,000 employees that they can expect to keep working those long shifts as the company produces record profits.
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“The good news is that volumes have increased because we have the opportunity to work with our clients on so many exciting things right now,” he said according to a transcript confirmed by FOX Business.
FOX Business has also learned that Solomon isn’t completely ignoring criticism from overworked workers, and some would say underpaid masses. First-year associates earn about $ 150.00 a year, while Solomon earned $ 17.5 million in 2020.
The firm is planning a wave of junior bankers hiring to handle the influx of new business that has exhausted certain teams and forced some employees to work 100 hours a week and on weekends, which Solomon seeks to cut back.
Sources say the firm will strengthen teams that help underwrite special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), which have seen tremendous growth this year as a new and less regulated way for companies to go public.
The firm will also seek to expand the teams working in its leading Technology, Media and Telecommunications banking group to reduce workloads. The new hires should be on board in April, these people said.
“The bank is humming,” said a senior Goldman executive. “But help is on the way.”