Watching the whole Tiger Woods fiasco over the last few months has been pretty painful for me. Don’t get me wrong, I have not one ounce of sympathy for a husband and father of two who sleeps with FIFTEEN (maybe more) other women and then blames it on a sex addiction (note to world – all men have a sex addiction!). What was infuriating was watching Tiger deal with the PR mess that resulted from his infidelities. He made a small problem a huge one. Tiger made several mistakes right out of the gate:
1) He didn’t apologize immediately.
2) He didn’t communicate what he had done wrong, that he is human and where his real priorities lie.
3) He remained private for several weeks. This was viewed as an effective guilty plea by the public.
The Goldman Sachs case is not all that dissimilar in my opinion. The alleged fraud might not be the SEC’s best case, but it’s common knowledge that Goldman played a central role in the financial crisis. Whether they did anything illegal is for the courts to decide, but in the court of public opinion they are seen as public enemy #1. If I were Goldman Sachs I would devise an eloquent and honest APOLOGY that shows that bankers are people too. Lloyd Blankfein should issue the address on Bloomberg or CNBC. Did they get caught up in greed just like homeowners? Yes. Did they make mistakes? Yes. Are they perfect? No. Make this a human event. Not a greed driven capitalist event by robbers in pinstripes. Do it sooner rather than later. And settle this puny SEC case. Now. Fighting it only makes you look worse. Americans love to forgive. But they are very unforgiving to those who are blatantly in the wrong (at least allegedly) and continue to deny the claims.
The final point is actually the opposite of Tiger’s dilemma. Goldman is too public, whereas Tiger is too private. It’s time for the world’s greatest hedge fund to go private again. This is a great money making operation. Despite the tarnished image this is still one of the great American brand names. But why are they public? Just so executives can make a million more bucks a year? Go private. Take your partnership private again and out of the public spotlight. Hedge funds don’t belong on stock exchanges and unfortunately, Goldman has learned this the hard way.