Goldman Sachs (GS) held its annual shareholder meeting Friday, at a very delicate time for the firm. The Wall Street investment giant faces a civil suit from the SEC, reports of a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice, and a growing chorus of voices questioning whether it can be trusted.
Calling it a “moment of historical importance” for the firm, Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein said he realizes that there is currently a disconnect between how the firm views itself and how the broader public perceives its role and activities in the market.
“Our firm must adhere to the core principles that sustained the firm over the last 140 years,” Blankfein said in prepared remarks at 32 Old Slip, near South Street Seaport.
This year the heat is on Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, as Goldman’s stock price has lost more than 20% of its value since the SEC announced its fraud charges against the firm on April 16.
Well-known shareholder activist Evelyn Davis, also dubbed the ‘queen of the corporate jungle’ for her determination to hold executives accountable, demanded that Blankfein resign his post, saying that he has damaged the firm’s credibility.
FBN: “Evelyn, I have no current plan to step down,” Blankfein told Davis. Goldman Sachs requires a vote of 80% of outstanding shares to take action such as removing a director.
Is worth pointing out that despite GS PPS tumble in recent weeks, the firm has still managed to post quarter after quarter of blistering profits, and managed to survive the financial crisis relatively unscathed.