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Sideways: From banking to politics – vote for your local vampire squid!

If Rishi Sunak prevails in the race to be the UK’s prime minister, then Goldman Sachs will still have one alumnus as head of a leading European economy, even if Mario Draghi steps down from leading Italy.

Rishi Sunak. Photo: Reuters

UK prime ministerial hopeful Rishi Sunak doesn’t stress his years as a junior banker at Goldman Sachs when he pitches for votes. Sunak’s political enemies work hard to portray him as an out-of-touch elitist, a campaign that was helped by leaks earlier this year about his wife’s non-domestic tax status in the UK and media articles stressing the enormous wealth generated by her stake in Infosys.

Sunak arguably did well to emerge as one of the two final candidates to succeed prime minister Boris Johnson after this onslaught and will now campaign for the votes of Conservative party members on a platform of competence, not opulence.

Mario Draghi rarely dwells on his own years at Goldman either, where he overlapped with Sunak between 2002 and 2004, though they were at different stages of their careers, given an age gap of 33 years.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz would be the only head of a top four economy in Europe to have taken power without a stint at an investment bank

Sunak was effectively ticking some boxes at Goldman before he joined a hedge fund, while Draghi was filling in time between running the Italian Treasury and returning to Rome to become governor of the Bank of Italy in 2006.


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