… sits on the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs. Bill’s job at Goldman: Doing nothing. He has recently been joined by Barnard president Debora Spar on the Goldman board. Her job: Doing nothing. Ruth Simmons, president of Brown University, has just left the Goldman Board of Directors. Her job: Doing nothing.

[S]ix of …seven [former GS managing directors and partners] said they agreed with [Greg] Smith’s [NYT op/ed] criticism of how the firm has treated clients under Blankfein and Cohn’s management and that current members of the management committee would, too. Even so, they said they don’t expect the board of directors to take action or that anything will change because the firm has made money and outperformed most rivals.

Harvard, Barnard, Brown: Some of our best universities are Goldman-infested. In exchange for hundreds of thousands of GS dollars, some of our highest profile academics sit on their asses there, rousing themselves to approve – as Simmons did – a $68 million dollar bonus for Lloyd Blankfein. “There’s no indication … that Simmons takes her fiduciary responsibilities to Goldman’s shareholders particularly seriously,” wrote Felix Salmon of Simmon’s time at Goldman. He noted she knows virtually nothing about finance, making it absurdly easy for her to be “snowed” by Blankfein.

[GS] should get to work on the board, appointing people who will look hard at managerial business decisions, and won’t allow themselves to be snowed by Lloyd.

Or, as Salmon put it yesterday:

The real muppets, in this story, are Goldman’s board members, who have never had any real control over how the company is run. And, frankly, never will. The most remunerative skill, at Goldman, is the ability to flatter someone into believing that they’re incredibly important and clever and sophisticated, even as you’re getting that person to do exactly what’s in your own best interest. No one rises to lead Goldman Sachs who doesn’t have that skill. And you can be sure that Lloyd Blankfein uses it on the board every time he meets with them.

Everyone commenting on Muppetgate agrees that the board remains useless at best and an enabler of sick personal greed and toxic corporate culture at worst. (You’d think Harvard would be embarrassed that Incurious George promotes Me Heap Big Leader shit like this under Harvard’s name.) How disgusting that the names of some of our best universities are dragged into this mud.

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  1. If Goldman Sachs is so bad, who’s to blame? | The Cranky Professor Says:

    […] Professor Margaret Soltan on the academics involved in Muppetgate. […]

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