Macaskill on markets: Commodities chiefs keep their heads down
Two of the top-four bank commodity groups are run by women, unusually for the male-dominated world of sales and trading at investment banks.
Jon Macaskill is one of the leading capital markets and derivatives journalists, with over 20 years’ experience covering financial markets from London and New York. Most recently he worked at one of the biggest global investment banks
Isabelle Ealet heads commodities at Goldman Sachs, where she has risen on the back of the same principle that propelled former commodities traders Lloyd Blankfeinand Gary Cohnto their current roles as group chief executive and president: making more money than other employees. Ealet, who is French, joined Goldman as an oil trader from Total in 1991, was made a partner in 2000 and at the end of 2008 was appointed to the bank’s management committee. During the banking crisis of 2008, when there was a sharp drop in the price of oil, Ealet presided over a mid-year doubling of Goldman’s commodities value at risk. Successful bets on oil price direction and exploitation of energy volatility help to explain her elevation to Goldman’s management committee. Goldman is rumoured to have generated $1 billion of commodities revenue in January 2009, which would have exploded any monthly record for a single firm.