Woody: you’re hired!
Investment bankers travelling home in the City one evening at the end of September were treated to a shocking sight: that of beaming, tie-less Mike Sherwood looking straight at them from the front page of London’s Evening Standard newspaper. Woody was surrounded by young school-leavers from London’s capital, who were lined up to take part in a new apprentice scheme endorsed by The Standard called ‘Ladder for London’. The aim is to give smart kids from deprived inner-city areas a chance of a successful career.
Goldman, which despite its negative reputation has for many years been a supporter of inner-city charity projects, was the first financial institution to sign up to the scheme.
But the article accompanying the news led to some questions. First, it came just a few days after news stories appeared suggesting Goldman was to cut up to 100 partners from the firm. A dozen apprentices paid £12,000 a year might help reduce costs, but can they generate sufficient revenue to boost a return on equity number that has fallen below 5%?
Second, has Sherwood been promoted without our knowledge? Throughout the article, he was referred to as co-chief executive of Goldman Sachs, rather than of the international operations.
And third, what was the famously cherubic Woody’s response to one would-be apprentice’s enquiry as to the location of Goldman’s corporate gym?