Goldman’s M&A ‘Terminator’ is leaving

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A 28-year veteran of the investment bank, Vaske in December was named the third co-chair of Goldman’s global M&A group, alongside Tim Ingrassia and Paul Parker. He started in Goldman’s M&A department as an analyst in 1988 and became a chemicals banker, and later head of the natural resources group.

Vaske recently advised DuPont, a longtime client, through its fight with activist investor Nelson Peltz and its pending merger with Dow Chemical. He also advised Baker Hughes on its aborted sale to Halliburton, which fell apart amid regulatory scrutiny earlier this year.

The veteran merger banker was named managing director in 1998 and a partner in 2000 – an unusually fast promotion track – and spent time in the bank’s offices in Tokyo and London.

Vaske is now expected to work for a client, rather than leaving for a rival bank, according to people familiar with his plans. That move has been a popular one lately among senior Wall Streeters: Morgan Stanley ’s Bob Eatroff joined Comcast as an executive overseeing corporate development and strategy, and Henry Gosebruch, a senior pharmaceuticals deal maker at JP Morgan Chase, became AbbVie’s chief strategy officer.

Before joining Goldman, Vaske played basketball at Columbia University, where his nicknames, according to the Columbia Daily Spectator, included both “The Pillsbury Dough Boy” and “The Terminator,” for his defensive skills. He remains a booster of the program, as chair of the basketball alumni committee, and is on the board of PeacePlayers International, which runs basketball programs in conflict-riddled countries.

His resignation was announced in a memo from Richard Gnodde, David Solomon and John Waldron, co-heads of the investment-banking division, which includes M&A.

“Over the course of his career, John has enhanced our client franchise by building meaningful and longstanding relationships with numerous clients, has led a number of significant transactions, and has played a central role in growing our natural resources business across regions,” it reads.

Write to Liz Hoffman at

This story was first published by The Wall Street Journal

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