|High-profile departures have been all too common at Goldman Sachs this year. But this time around, Goldman has lured back a former executive.
Russell Horwitz is returning to Goldman to serve as chief of staff for CEO David Solomon. He joins at a critical juncture for the bank and its CEO, who has faced criticism over everything from his managerial decisions to his usage of the company’s private jets.
Horwitz rejoins the bank after a stint at Ken Griffin’s Citadel, which has become a popular landing spot for former Goldman execs. Insider’s Dakin Campbell and Kaja Whitehouse have the complete rundown on the move, including a conversation with Horwitz himself.
Horwitz’s homecoming is a result of longtime Goldman Sachs executive John Rogers taking a step back. A key behind-the-scenes player for Goldman since he joined in 1994, Rogers has served as the chief of staff for the past four CEOs.
He’ll remain at the bank as an executive vice president, secretary to the board, and member of the management committee.
News of Rogers stepping down would be monumental in and of itself — media outlets dubbed him everything from Goldman’s “CEO whisperer” to the “man behind the curtain.” But when one considers the current climate at Goldman, the decision becomes even more intriguing.
As Insider’s Linette Lopez argues, Goldman Sachs is having an identity crisis.
Under Solomon, the bank has made an effort to evolve beyond being a bunch of cutthroat traders and dealmakers. A key piece of that plan was its push into consumer banking via Marcus, its digital bank.
But Goldman’s Main Street ambitions have been nothing short of a massive and costly failure. Meanwhile, the bank’s bread and butter — dealmaking and IPOs — has been virtually nonexistent.
That culminated in one of the bank’s worst earnings reports in years when Goldman saw a 58% drop in profit during the second quarter.
So now Horwitz is left to help Solomon pick up the pieces on what has been a disastrous year. And while he’s no stranger to navigating tricky situations — Horwitz played a key role in negotiating Goldman’s settlement over the 1MDB scandal — this one is particularly difficult.
As Linette puts it, Goldman is in an unusual position: Playing from behind.
“Without the winning, Goldman’s identity and place on Wall Street is unclear. It’s too small to be JPMorgan, too rarified to be Bank of America, and becoming Morgan Stanley would, frankly, be a mortifying step down.”