Goldman Sachs picks Lloyd Blankfein’s new right-hand men

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The Goldman Sachs logo displayed on a post above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in 2013.
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REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Goldman Sachs has named David Solomon and Harvey Schwartz the new co-chief operating officers and presidents for the bank, replacing longtime COO and President Gary Cohn, according to an announcement Wednesday.

Schwartz is currently chief financial officer and will stay in that role until the end of April, when he will be replaced by Martin Chavez, a former tech exec who is currently the chief information officer.

Solomon is cohead of the investment-banking division.

The COO role has traditionally been second-in-command at the bank after Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

Richard Gnodde and Pablo Salame were also appointed vice chairmen of the bank.

“These five leaders have distinguished themselves in their respective areas of expertise and I look forward to working with them in formulating and executing our global strategy,” Blankfein said in a statement. “They have consistently demonstrated their unwavering commitment to Goldman Sachs, our clients, and our people.”

The move comes just two days after Cohn, the current COO and right-hand man to Blankfein, accepted a position leading the National Economic Council for President-elect Donald Trump.

Both Solomon and Schwartz were viewed as strong possibilities to replace Cohn.

Here’s what you need to know about the executives who have been promoted:


David Solomon — president and co-chief operating officer

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REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Solomon, 54, has been named president and co-COO with Harvey Schwartz.

He was previously cohead of investment banking in New York, holding that role since 2006. Before that, he was the global head of the financing group. He played an important role in revamping the investment bank’s junior-banker policies in 2015 to fast-track top performers to promotion, encourage mobility, and replace some tasks with technology.

In a less traditional path to Wall Street than many of his peers, Solomon skipped the Ivy League and studied political science at Hamilton College in upstate New York. He has said he values his liberal-arts education for the communication, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills it afforded him.

Solomon joined the firm as a partner in 1999 after stints with Bear Stearns, Drexel Burnham, and Salomon Brothers.

He also once gave life-changing career advice to Clippers guard J.J. Redick.


Harvey Schwartz — president and co-chief operating officer

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Image courtesy of Goldman Sachs

Schwartz has been named president and co-COO, and he will continue as CFO until April.

Schwartz, 52, has been CFO since 2013. In 1997 he joined the trading shop J. Aron – the same firm Blankfein joined 15 years earlier – as it was merging with Goldman Sachs.

When he joined, Blankfein was managing J. Aron, which merged into Goldman’s fixed income, currencies, and commodities unit. Gary Cohn was global head of commodities at the time, according to a Bloomberg profile, so Schwartz reported to him and Blankfein.

Schwartz made partner at Goldman Sachs in 2002 and became cohead of the Americas Financing Group within the investment-banking division. He was later appointed to global head of the securities division before becoming CFO.

“If you look at the history of the firm, there are not a lot of people who have actually lived and functioned at a kind of a high management level in both the sales and trading world and the investment-banking world, and Harvey has,” Goldman’s former copresident Jon Winkelried told Bloomberg in 2012. “Harvey is extremely well-prepared.”

Schwartz grew up in Morristown, New Jersey, and graduated from Rutgers. He is 6-foot-4 and an “enthusiastic and mediocre” golfer, according to the Bloomberg report.


R. Martin Chavez — chief financial officer

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Getty Images/ Jemal Countess

Chavez has been named deputy chief financial officer, and he will take over as chief financial officer from Harvey Schwartz in full in April.

He made his name as chief information officer, leading Goldman Sachs’ technology efforts. He led the development of the firm’s own programming language for risk calculations.

He also breaks the mold of a typical Wall Street executive. A onetime tech startup founder, he is part of a small group of senior Latino executives at Goldman; just 3.5% of the firm’s senior officials and managers identify as Hispanic or Latino.

When he joined the bank in 1993, he was one of its first openly gay employees. He sports a sleeve of tattoos.


Pablo Salame — vice chairman

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Goldman Sachs

Salame has been named vice chairman, effective January 1, and will continue in his role as global cohead of the securities division.

Salame joined Goldman Sachs in New York from Citigroup in 1996 and made partner in 2000. He became cohead of the global emerging-markets debt group that year.

Salame spent nine years in London, from 2002 to 2011, and he took over his current role as global cohead of securities in 2008. Salame serves on the management committee, chairs the partnership committee, and cochairs the firmwide investment-policy committee.

Salame has been a big advocate for the LGBT community in the workplace. He graduated from Brown University, where he played on the varsity tennis team for his freshman year and part of his sophomore year. He’s still an avid tennis player in the finance tennis community. He began his career at Citicorp in his native Ecuador, according to Brown.


Richard Gnodde — vice chairman

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REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Gnodde has been named vice chairman with Pablo Salame, in addition to his role as cohead of the investment-banking division.

Gnodde is also due to take over as the sole CEO of Goldman Sachs International when his co-CEO Michael Sherwood leaves the firm in January.

He is known for advising on the Indian steel giant Mittal’s $33 billion deal for Arcelor in 2006.

Gnodde joined the firm in London in 1987 and made partner in 1998. He served on the partnership committee from 1999 to 2004 and has served on the management committee since 2003.

Gnodde played an important role in building Goldman’s mergers-and-acquisitions franchise in Europe before moving to Asia, where he worked in Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong to help secure access to the local Chinese securities markets.

Back in London, he became the co-CEO of GSI in 2006 and the cohead of the investment-banking division in 2011.