Talk about a rough first week on the job. Just one day after Jake Siewert started as public relations chief for Goldman Sachs, executive Greg Smith delivered a scathing resignation from the investment firm via an op-ed rant in The New York Times.
Siewert (pictured), who was said to be considering a similar job at PepsiCo before signing on at Goldman, appears to have had little to do with the statement that was crafted shortly after Smith's article showed up on newsstands, computer screens and mobile devices the world over. He did, however, insist that the response be immediate, The Daily Beast reports.
In his op-ed, Smith described Goldman's culture as "toxic and destructive." In response, the 142-year-old firm issued a statement that disagreed with the views expressed, "which we don't think reflect the way we run our business."
Still, the damage had been done. For many Americans critical of bank bailouts and corporate profit-making, Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein and President Gary Cohn became once again the faces of Wall Street greed; "Greg Smith" became a trending term on Twitter; and the company's stock lost some $2 billion in value as traders ditched the shares.
It was a day, as the Beast notes, that left Siewert, whose wife, Christine, is expecting their third child, to quip to his new colleagues, "After my first week here, I'm looking forward to the peace and quiet of the delivery room."
As bad as Wednesday may have been for the newly installed Siewert, containing damage from a disgruntled former employee's published missive was perhaps child's play compared to facing the White House press corps on the final day of the Clinton administration.
Instead of bidding a fond farewell, Siewert parried with reporters over a sudden agreement reached between the president and investigators about the Monica Lewinsky scandal, which resulted in Clinton paying a $25,000 fine and forfeiting his law license.
As Dee Dee Myers, another of Clinton's press secretaries, told the Beast, "This isn't his first time at the rodeo."
In his new role, Siewert will have his hands full refashioning the image of a Wall Street icon that has been sullied by bailouts and perceptions of massive greed. Only time will tell if he can restore the luster that the storied investment banker once enjoyed.
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