Goldman Sachs announced a new initiative this week to invest $500 million in 10,000 U.S. small businesses. According to The New York Times, Goldman insisted that the charitable initiative, its largest in history, “was not motivated by its current public relations headache.”
The company has been at the center of much of the bad press surrounding the financial industry meltdown, and also was the first major bank to return to profitability. Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, in a feature story earlier this year, called the company, “the great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.”
Gene Marbach, Group Vice President at agency Makovsky + Company – which counts Citibank-Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase and Merrill Lynch as clients – told PRNewser that from a PR standpoint, it is an “excellent thing.”
“It serves a number of purposes. Yes it’s important to foster growth of new companies, and it’s a great PR move because that’s where the jobs are going to come from,” he said.
At a media event in New York last week, Burson-Marsteller CEO Mark Penn said the solving the financial industry’s PR problems is, “not about one article, it’s going to take years to work through this.” Certainly, $500 million is more than one article, and Goldman must be hoping the investment helps their image.
Goldman Sachs lists only internal contacts for U.S. PR and a number of agencies for international work, including Ogilvy PR and Manning, Selvage & Lee.
[Image: Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Golman Sachs]