Goldman CEO takes lead on Wall Street in slamming Trump travel ban

Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:05pm EST
 
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By Olivia Oran

(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein became the first major Wall Street leader to speak out against President Donald Trump's order to halt arrivals from several Muslim-majority countries.

In a voicemail to employees on Sunday, Blankfein said diversity was a hallmark of Goldman's success, and if the temporary freeze became permanent, it could create "disruption" for the bank and its staff.

"This is not a policy we support, and I would note that it has already been challenged in federal court, and some of the order has been enjoined at least temporarily," Blankfein said, according to a transcript seen by Reuters.

In Silicon Valley, the heads of companies such as Apple and Facebook swiftly denounced Trump's immigration ban. But the rest of corporate America has been more circumspect in speaking out, underscoring the sensitivities around opposing policies that could provoke a backlash from the White House.

Tepid responses from many of Blankfein's peers made his comments all the more potent, especially because Goldman has gotten attention for the number of its alumni who have joined Trump's administration.

Top BlackRock Inc executives including CEO Larry Fink, sent a memo to staff on Monday saying Trump's order presented "challenges" to its goals of diversity and inclusion. BlackRock is examining the direct impact on its employees, as well as the broader implications of the order, they said.

"We, of course, all want to promote security and combat terrorism, but we believe it needs to be done with respect for due process, individual rights and the principle of inclusion," they wrote.'

Citigroup CEO Mike Corbat said in a memo to employees on Monday the bank is concerned about "the message the executive order sends" as well as the impact immigration policies might have "on our ability to serve our clients and contribute to growth."   Continued...

 
Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, waits to speak at the 10,000 Women/State Department Entrepreneurship Program at the State Department in Washington, March 9, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron