NEW YORK, March 30 (Reuters) - Greg Smith, the former Goldman Sachs executive who condemned the powerful investment bank in a scathing New York Times opinion column, has landed a deal to write a book about his 12 years at the firm, according to media reports on Friday.
Smith, who resigned from Goldman earlier this month, set off a bidding war when he met with several major publishers earlier this week about a book that would include details of what Smith has described as a toxic culture at the famous Wall Street firm, said a publishing industry source.
The final deal was first reported in Friday's New York Post, which said Grand Central publishing, an imprint of the Hachette Book Group, paid a $1.5 million advance for the book.
Jennifer Romanello, a spokeswoman for the publishing house, and Smith's literary agent, Paul Fedorko of N.S. Bienstock, had no comment.
Smith's withering resignation letter published in the New York Times called Goldman a "toxic" place with a culture that boasted of ripping off clients. Smith recounted seeing five of the firm's managing directors refer to clients as "muppets" at times on internal emails.
The letter captured the imagination of Wall Street and social media websites including Twitter, where Smith instantly became a top trending topic.
The Johannesburg-born Smith worked at Goldman's London office in equity derivatives as an executive director.
His op-ed piece was highly unusual because Goldman employees shy away from publicly criticizing the bank, both because it breaks the Goldman code of silence and because non-disparagement agreements signed by many employees bar them from speaking negatively about the firm.
Goldman responded to the op-ed by saying Smith's views did not reflect the way the business was run.