NEW YORK—Seeking to mollify critics over its role in the global financial crisis, Goldman Sachs announced Friday the hiring of junior analyst Greg Kohler, who executives said is the investment bank's first and only employee to possess a clear set of morals or a basic understanding of right and wrong.
Officials confirmed the upstanding Kohler, 24, will be based out of the company's Lower Manhattan headquarters, working from within a small cubicle strategically located in a remote corner of the building where he is unlikely to have contact with his morally bankrupt coworkers.
"We are very pleased to welcome Mr. Kohler, who will be adhering to the letter of the law in a workspace physically detached from the rest of our firm's operations," public relations chief Richard Siewert said during a press conference. "He'll be joining a select group of 33,000 talented individuals at Goldman Sachs as our sole employee not motivated purely by the pursuit of obscene wealth at the expense of society."
"While Mr. Kohler won't be attending a single meeting or influencing any of our business decisions, we're confident his acute sense of professional integrity will prove a valuable asset," Siewert continued. "He will technically be on our staff, collecting a paycheck, and that's really all that counts."
According to Siewert, Kohler's unique values of fairness, honesty, and social responsibility will be put to the test immediately, with daily tasks that include not searching for SEC loopholes to exploit, not deliberately misleading clients into unwise investments and then betting against them, and not taking massive risks at the expense of American taxpayers.
Working in the seclusion of his 16-square-foot office in a seldom-traveled hallway adjacent to the office cafeteria's dishwashing facility, Kohler will report to a vice president of private wealth management who will be barred from communicating with him in person, by phone, or over e-mail in the event Kohler accidentally hears about, and thus has to report, any instances of duplicitous behavior.
In a recent letter to shareholders, CEO Lloyd Blankfein stressed that the firm has taken every precaution to ensure Kohler has no influence on Goldman's culture of rampant amorality, writing, "Trust me, no one here is going to be listening to [Kohler]. He'll only be allowed to access our building through the freight entrance."
"Unlike the numerous members of our organization who have brazenly done so in the past, Mr. Kohler will be prohibited from ever taking a high-ranking position within the U.S. government, as that would present a serious conflict of interest," Siewert told reporters. "Nor will he be allowed, as our lone ethically minded employee, to draw upon those dubious connections to secure favorable treatment for Goldman Sachs or any of its global interests."
"Our plan is to ask for his advice on strategy and then immediately abandon anything he believes to be a good idea," he added.
Despite the official announcement welcoming Kohler, several employees voiced concerns that Kohler's hire represents a shift away from the firm's long-standing commitment to making as much money as possible, as quickly as possible, without any regard for human decency.
"On a certain level, I'm not worried about having him on board—he's just one guy, after all—but the mere fact that we'll be sharing an office with someone who plays by the rules is extremely depressing," said a managing director who spoke on condition of anonymity. "At the end of the day, you just want to cut loose with a few of your coworkers and expense a $2,000 meal without having to think that someone's back at the office doing his job with professionalism and character."
"It's just that I value the tradition we've all worked so hard to create here," he continued. "I wouldn't want one virtuous person to ruin that."
In addition to Kohler, Goldman Sachs also announced the hiring of 10 unscrupulous profit-mad sociopaths as a hedge against any of his moral convictions actually costing the company money.