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Unraveling Discontent: Inside the Unsettled Ranks of Goldman Sachs Partners Under CEO David Solomon

Goldman Sachs partners are restless

14 June 2023


Jayashri Ghorpade

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  • According to The Wall Street Journal, a senior Goldman Sachs partner expressed to CEO David Solomon that his DJing was not appropriate for a CEO of a leading Wall Street bank.

  • Lloyd Blankfein, the former CEO, voices concerns over Solomon's side gig.

David Solomon's leadership of the prestigious Wall Street firm has faced criticism from several individuals, with concerns primarily revolving around strategic missteps in the consumer business, as highlighted in a report by Insider's Dakin Campbell. Additionally, Solomon's tenure has witnessed notable departures, although Goldman asserts that the turnover is not atypical. However, it is worth noting that over 85 partners have left the firm since Solomon assumed the role of CEO in 2018.

Solomon's personality has emerged as a divisive force within the firm, drawing considerable attention. His inclination for embracing a glamorous lifestyle, evident in his high-profile DJ gigs, private jet trips to exotic destinations like the Bahamas, and mingling with renowned athletes and celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, has raised concerns among certain insiders. Some believe that Solomon prioritizes his personal image and financial rewards over the best interests of Goldman Sachs, as noted by Dakin.

In a recent article by AnnaMaria Andriotis from The Wall Street Journal, further insights into the internal dynamics at Goldman have been revealed. Unlike other Wall Street banks, Goldman stands out due to its unique structure and enduring partnership, which has remained intact for nearly 24 years since the firm's initial public offering. Andriotis highlights that a significant number of the approximately 420 partners at Goldman hold the belief that their roles are equally vital to that of the CEO.

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Another partner, Rich Friedman, who has been with the firm since 1990, voiced his dissatisfaction with Solomon's plan to merge the merchant banking unit's private equity, credit, and real estate operations with Goldman's "special situations group." Both divisions involve investing the firm's own funds to some extent.

Despite Friedman's objection, Solomon proceeded with the merger, which led Friedman to threaten resignation. Ultimately, he was convinced to remain with the firm.

According to Goldman spokesman Tony Fratto, he considers the differences of opinion as a healthy sign. He believes that these disagreements reflect the active involvement of partners and business leaders in engaging with David on matters of strategy and initiatives, thereby fostering a dynamic environment.

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