Greg Smith, a London-based Goldman Sachs vice president, publicly resigned from the financial firm in a scathing New York Times op-ed piece published Wednesday.
In the article, Smith lashed out against Goldman's "toxic" culture which, he feels, places profit above the best interests of clients. Smith likened the business to an elephant hunt, where bankers push investors into deals that will make the most money for the firm. Adding insult to injury, Smith claimed clients were consistently referred to as "muppets" in internal emails.
Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein and President Garry Cohn defended the firm in an internal statement. It cited a survey in which an overwhelming majority of Goldman employees said they think the firm treats its clients exceptionally well.
Goldman Sachs has long been criticized for its role in the 2008 financial meltdown, as well as for the hefty bonuses it paid to its executives after receiving a government bailout. In 2010 the firm was ordered by the Securities and Exchange Commission to pay a $550 million bailout.