Goldman Sachs president David Solomon, likely to be the Wall Street giant’s next chief executive, in some ways breaks the mold of the cookie-cutter investment banker.
Solomon’s part-time hobby is deejaying under the moniker “D.J. D-Sol,” not an attribute normally associated with Goldman powerbrokers.
In terms of his day job, Solomon has risen without specializing in Goldman’s trading business and is not a lifer of the storied institution, but an outsider who joined Goldman mid-career after working at other banks.
Solomon, 56, moved a giant step closer to the top spot Monday when Goldman Sachs announced the retirement of Harvey Schwartz, his rival for the role after the two men were tapped as co-presidents in December 2016.
There is no timetable for current chief executive Lloyd Blankfein, 63, to retire, but many expect him to exit within the year.
– ‘Safe pair of hands’ –
Solomon began his Wall Street career in the 1980s at Drexel Burnham Lambert and then Bear Stearns before joining Goldman in 1999 as a rare outsider to begin as a partner.
He worked to build Goldman’s junk bond business before being promoted in 2006 to jointly lead investment banking, which advises companies on mergers and acquisitions and financing.
“Solomon came up in the business as a product specialist—underwriting and selling the debt securities of companies with less than stellar credit,” said William Cohan, a financial journalist who previously worked on Wall Street in a column in “Vanity Fair” following Monday’s news.
“He understands markets,” Cohan added. “He understands risk. In other words he’ll be a safe pair of hands to lead the Goldman franchise past its 150th anniversary, which falls next year.”
Solomon is ascending to the top spot at an inflection point for the storied investment bank, which is known not only as a financier to major multinationals, but a powerbroker in political circles.
Though still a powerhouse, Goldman has taken some hits to its financial performance over the last couple of years, with low market volatility hitting crucial trading revenue streams.
Goldman has announced plans it says will add $5 billion in annual revenues from building up its online banking business, increasing its investment banking in the middle market and other measures.
“Goldman will need to continue to transform itself into a more profitable company by growing its wealth and asset management, investment banking and lending businesses, while its markets business needs to broaden its range of clients away from active trading customers, like hedge funds,” said RBC analyst Gerard Cassidy.
Praised as a strong manager, Solomon has pushed Goldman to hire more women and taken steps to address the overworking of younger employees, according to US business outlets. He is also known for barring bonuses to bankers performing in the lowest five percent.
In one odd twist, Solomon’s name surfaced in January when a former personal assistant was charged with stealing more than $1.2 million in rare wine from Solomon.