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Goldman Sachs chief executive officer David Solomon, a vehement critic of remote work, took seven weekend getaways on the company's Gulfstream private jet, according to a report.
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Bloomberg reported that Solomon has been complaining for months that employees have been taking advantage of the work from home policy.
"It's not a new normal," Solomon said in regard to remote working during the annual Credit Suisse virtual financial services forum in February. "It's an aberration that we are going to correct as quickly as possible."
While Solomon has urged other employees to join him at the office, the executive has also reportedly headed to destinations like the Hamptons and the Bahamas for frequent getaways on the company's private jets.
When they are not being used for business, such as scouting office locations in Florida and Texas, the jets have also reportedly been used for personal trips to Montana and the Caribbean by Goldman Sachs executives.
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Goldman had reportedly resisted purchasing private jets, instead relying on timeshare service NetJets. However, after an incident where Goldman Sachs executive vice president, chief of staff and secretary to the board John Rogers was reportedly left behind in Anchorage, Alaska on the way back from Asia, the bank made the jet purchases.
The company received its Gulfstream jets in August. The planes were reportedly given custom tail numbers — the equivalent of vanity plates — ending in 'WS' to signify both 'Wall Street' and the address of the company's headquarters in Manhattan.
Goldman Sachs' policy states that executives have limited personal use of the company's private just and must reimburse the company for all costs associated with personal use.
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Sources told Bloomberg that they are frustrated with Solomon's behavior, noting that the executive is risking appearing out of touch.
“It certainly looks terrible,” Nell Minow, who advises institutional investors on corporate governance issues as vice chair at ValueEdge Advisors, told Bloomberg. “There is a Marie Antoinette aspect to it.”
Minow argued that the board of a publicly traded company shouldn’t let the CEO use its resources for personal benefit. However, former Goldman Sachs board member Bill George disagrees.
“Bravo if he’s going off to the Bahamas for the weekend,” George told Bloomberg. “I am from the work-hard, play-hard culture. I bet you dollars to doughnuts, he’s working the phones and talking to clients while in the Bahamas.”
Meanwhile, sources familiar with the matter told the outlet that Rogers believes the purchases could sully the company's reputation.
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In a statement to FOX Business, Goldman Sachs defended Solomon.
“David has been running the firm from our headquarters at 200 West Street since the pandemic hit hard last March, and the results speak for themselves," Goldman Sachs spokesperson Jake Siewert said. “When he’s away for a weekend, David continues to work, pays for his own travel, follows Covid protocols, and is back in the office first thing on a Monday morning.”
The firm earned a profit of $9.46 billion, or $24.74 per share, in 2020 as sales rose 22% year-over-year to $44.56 billion.
|GS||THE GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP, INC.||346.22||-2.33||-0.67%|
In January, Solomon said he expects to have nearly all employees back in the office by the end of the year as vaccine distribution ramps up.
"The big focus right now is we've got to get people vaccinated — we've got to get to the other side," he told Bloomberg Television. "I certainly would expect a lot of Goldman Sachs employees back in full by the end of the year. We will get through this, and I'm really hopeful that over the course of the next six months we see a real improvement."
As of Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported over 109 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the United States, with over 71 million Americans, or 21.4% of the total population, receiving at least one dose. The United States has surpassed 29 million coronavirus cases and 535,000 related deaths since the COVID-19 pandemic began a year ago, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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