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Chapter 11. Snakes and Ladders: Spinning, Flipping, and Walking through Wall...

Chapter 11. Snakes and Ladders: Spinning, Flipping, and Walking through Wall Street’s Walls

“What used to be a conflict is now a synergy.” “Objective? The other word for it is uninformed.”

—comments by Salomon Smith Barney’s controversial former telecommunications analyst Jack Grubman, quoted in BusinessWeek on May 15, 2000

Little illustrated the dilemma facing Wall Street more than the response of Goldman Sachs Chairman and Chief Executive Henry (Hank) Paulson to the public’s loss of confidence in corporate America in the summer of 2002. In a rare speech, this publicity-shy powerbroker told an audience at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., that he couldn’t think of a time when U.S. business had been held in less repute. He also laid out an agenda for change in the boardrooms and the accounting profession more than a month before President Bush went to Wall Street to deliver his own plan to get tough with corporate fraudsters. “In my lifetime, American business has never been under such scrutiny,” said the one-time adviser to President Nixon’s White House. “To be blunt, much of it is deserved,” he acknowledged. “The Enron debacle and subsequent revelations have revealed major shortcomings in the way some U.S. companies and those charged with their oversight have gone about their business. And it has, without doubt, eroded public trust,” he said.


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