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Friday, May 20, 2022

Goldman Sachs CEO says it's not Wall Street's job to 'ostracize Russia' amid calls on social media for corporations to pull out of the country

Goldman Sachs CEO says it's not Wall Street's job to 'ostracize Russia' amid calls on social media for corporations to pull out of the country

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon told Time that it's the job of the government, not businesses, to "decide how global trade works in the world."
Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said it's not Wall Street's job to "ostracize Russia" despite growing calls on social media to do so, he said in a Time interview published Sunday,

"I don't think businesses are supposed to decide how global trade works in the world. Government sets policy and then businesses follow that policy," he told Time executive editor John Simons, adding that he "strongly" agrees with the sanctions placed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

Goldman Sachs became the first major bank to announce it was shutting down operations in Russia last week, as the industry faces both legal and public pressure to sever ties with the country.

Just a few hours later, JP Morgan also announced it would be joining the corporate exodus. On Friday, Deutsche Bank reversed course after its CEO received swift backlash for telling employees that a Russian exit wasn't "practical" and would go against the bank's "values."

Despite the industry-first move, Solomon answered "that's not our job," when asked if Wall Street should be doing more to boycott Russia.

Retail giants Starbucks and McDonald's were similarly reluctant to pull out of Russia, citing its responsibility to local employees and customers. However, following calls on social media, both companies back peddled on their statements and announced they would shut down operations but continue paying their Russian staff members.

In the interview with Time, Solomon pushed back on the social media movement and reiterated that the main priority of businesses in Russia is to adhere to sanctions issued by the Biden administration.

"Goldman Sachs is winding down its business in Russia in compliance with regulatory and licensing requirements," the bank said in a statement shared with Insider. "We are focused on supporting our clients across the globe in managing or closing out pre-existing obligations in the market and ensuring the wellbeing of our people."
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