Goldman's debt to Solomon helps him get the top job
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Goldman's debt to Solomon helps him get the top job

New sole president’s success in building non-traditional strengths put him ahead of rival Schwartz


By now it is received wisdom that David Solomon’s apparent victory at Goldman Sachs over rival co-president Harvey Schwartz is a reflection of where the emphasis of that firm is heading – namely, towards investment banking and away from the traders.

Solomon won out partly by virtue of his pedigree in investment banking, whereas Schwartz was hurt by his trading heritage.

That is broadly right, but there is a finer distinction at work too. Both men have had to preside over changes of strategy. Solomon has arguably nailed his; Schwartz’s efforts look a lot more like a work in progress and he has run out of time.

David_Solomon 160x186

David Solomon,
Goldman Sachs

Proof that you can shift gears to match the zeitgeist matters more than ever in banking management at the moment – Jamie Dimon might be an exception (in all sorts of ways), but take a look around at the best bank chiefs and senior executives right now and they are change managers rather than steady-as-she-goes merchants.

So, too, has it been at Goldman. While the institutional side of the business was reaping the rewards of a buoyant environment for the kinds of trading clients that Goldman focused on, like hedge funds, investment banking had a few things to tackle.

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