Goldman Sachs's David Solomon is proud to be the problem


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Thanks so much, Brick. Here’s Ron Burgundy with our main story.

David Solomon solving global warming, one vanity DJ set at a time. Credit: Chris Riley

As Jen Wieczner reveals in an extensive profile, colleagues of David “BJ DJ D-Sol” Solomon, the CEO of the mega-investment bank Goldman Sachs, have widely varying opinions of the man. Some say he’s a “dick,” while others believe he’s a “prick.”

Goldman Sachs isn’t the dirtiest investment bank when it comes to financing the fossil-fuel industry, but Solomon is one of the most unrepentant CEOs. He has a special love of private jets, using them for frequent jaunts to his Bahamas estate and to vanity deejaying gigs as DJ D-Sol.

He’s also the chair of the board of his alma mater, Hamilton College, like the sawbuck and the neoliberal musical named for New York City’s financial founding father.

I’m bringing this all up to highlight this passage from Wieczner’s piece, which I hope you read:

As chair of the board of trustees at his alma mater, Hamilton College, Solomon attended a networking event on campus in early March. Toward the end of the reception, a cluster of seniors approached Solomon with questions about the university’s energy investments. Three of them wrote a letter to the student newspaper, the Spectator, about what happened next. “Solomon’s attitude and behavior toward us and our questions carried extremely racist and sexist undertones,” they wrote. “His blatant ignorance and disrespect is one we feel obligated to share with the campus community.”

According to the students, they spoke with Solomon for 30 minutes, mostly about fossil-fuel divestment. The CEO offended them several times, claiming at one point that he “does more in a week to help climate change than we will ever do in our entire lives” and pointing to a home he bought in Vail that runs on geothermal energy.

“​​Solomon then said probably the most clearly racially charged sentiment,” the students wrote. “He pointed at each one of us, claiming that all of us must be on financial aid; he implied that we should show immense gratitude because we are in debt to the college’s endowment and that we should not complain about its investment portfolio. Once we all looked shocked at the claim, he quickly backtracked, citing the statistic that something like 80 percent of Hamilton students are on some kind of financial aid. It is important to note that the group of six or so people talking to him were all non-male and at least half were people of color. We believe that he never would have assumed we were all on financial aid if we were the group of white male students in suits talking to him 20 minutes prior.”

At least one of the students left the encounter in tears. “It was just so upsetting and appalling that someone would talk to us with that much blatant disrespect and disregard for us,” she told me. “In my life, I had never really been talked to like that, which was kind of stunning.”

Solomon appeared to think the interaction was a success. Later that evening, he approached one of the students at a campus pub and said that he “really enjoyed our conversation earlier.”

Just check out the endowment on that man’s college.

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