Goldman Sachs to name Solomon and Schwartz to succeed Cohn

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Gary Cohn, Goldman Sachs

The Wall Street powerhouse also is likely to name technology chief R. Martin Chavez as finance chief, Schwartz’s current job, the people said. An announcement on the promotions could be made as soon as Wednesday, the people said.

The promotions of Solomon, who co-heads Goldman’s investment-banking division, and Schwartz, its chief financial officer since 2013, will bring about the most significant top-level management change at the firm in a decade.

President-elect Trump this week announced that Cohn would become his chief economic advisor in the White House. For years, Wall Street had waited to see whether he would rise to Goldman’s top perch.

Instead, Cohn’s departure signals that Blankfein likely intends to lead the firm for several more years.

Solomon, 54 years old, is the longest-serving head of a major business line at Goldman, having spent a decade atop its investment-banking unit, which advises companies on mergers and capital raises. It is Goldman’s second largest by revenues, which are up 60% since 2011 amid a surge in deal making.

Schwartz, 52, came up through Goldman’s securities arm as a salesman and headed the division from 2008 to 2013, when he was named CFO. His tenure has seen Goldman adapt to new capital requirements and regulations.

The two men will share the role of second-in-command, the people said. Goldman has a history of co-executives, especially in the No. 2 slot.

Cohn and Jon Winkelried split the role for several years under Blankfein, and John Thain and John Thornton did so under former chief executive Hank Paulson.

The elevation of Chavez, who oversees Goldman’s legion of engineers and coders, was less telegraphed and is likely to surprise even seasoned observers of the bank’s internal politics. It comes as Goldman has been reinventing itself as a technology firm, using software to launch new businesses and make old ones more efficient.

Chavez is an alumnus of J. Aron, the commodities trading arm where many of Goldman’s leaders, including Blankfein and Cohn, got their start. He joined the bank in 1993 and spent his early years as a so-called “strat,” creating mathematical pricing and risk models for the firm’s traders.

He left after four years for a job at Credit Suisse Group, then founded and sold a trading-software startup. Chavez returned to Goldman in 2005 and was named chief information officer three years ago.

There he has overseen a dramatic transformation. The once-secretive bank has begun sharing its core software with clients, and launching applications with names like Athena and Zephyr to automate banking and trading tasks. Technology is also powering Goldman’s expansion into consumer banking, including online-only savings accounts and personal loans.

“We are a technology company,” Blankfein declared in a 2015 podcast.

Chavez will become chief financial officer as investors are cheering the possibility of deregulation under a Trump presidency. Goldman shares have risen 31% since the election, partly on hopes that a rollback of Dodd-Frank regulations will unshackle its once-mighty trading desk.

Write to Liz Hoffman at liz.hoffman@wsj.com

This article was first published by The Wall Street Journal

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