Economics/Class Relations

Ex-Goldman partners dish

September 20, 2023 • 5 min read
with Dan DeFrancesco
Halfway there! Hats off to this Danish artist for trying to get away with getting paid for two blank canvases titled “Take the Money and Run.”


In today’s big story, former Goldman Sachs partners explain what led them to leave their prestigious positions within the bank.

What’s on deck:
But first, it’s not you; it’s me.

 

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The big story
Goldman Goodbye

Royalty doesn’t exist in an official capacity on Wall Street, but Goldman Sachs’ partnership is about as close as it gets to one. 

 

The group of roughly 400 is the cream of the crop of the cream of the crop, representing about 1% of the prestigious investment bank’s entire workforce.

 

Such a high bar is bound to come with some nice perks, which it does, but it’s more than adding zeros to the bank account. (Although that doesn’t hurt.) Partner status comes with a certain cachet across the Street: This person is the real deal. 

 

With that in mind, why does it seem like so many partners have headed for the exits recently?

 

A recent Insider investigation by Dakin Campbell and Emmalyse Brownstein found that at least 202 partners have left the firm during CEO David Solomon’s volatile five-year tenure.

 

But Dakin didn’t stop there, interviewing six partners about what led them to leave. The conversations provide a fascinating glimpse into a person’s rationale for leaving a role some consider to be the pinnacle of the field.

 

And while Solomon’s strategic missteps were a key talking point for many, not all the former partners bashed the CEO. Some defended their old boss to Dakin, pointing to the number of changes he’s taken on during his tenure.

 

The bank, meanwhile, has long pushed back on the notion of a partner exodus, explaining the turnover as the natural changing of the guard and pointing to an increase in the average tenure of partners.

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But much of the interest around partner exits isn’t just about how many partners have left. It’s also about which ones have gone. 

 

This year alone Julian Salisbury, once considered a CEO contender, and Dina Powell McCormick, one of the most senior women at the bank, both departed. Even new entrants to the partnership aren’t sticking around. Fred Baba, considered a rising star at the bank, left less than six months after being named a partner.

 

One former partner noted broader exits at the firm could boil down to flushing out the people who weren’t willing to back Solomon’s vision.

 

But how many of those people are still at the firm? Ahead of Solomon taking the reins from Lloyd Blankfein back in 2018, Dakin compiled a list of executives in Solomon’s inner circle and key members of his broader management team.

 

Fast forward to today, and roughly half of Solomon’s ardent supporters have since left.

 
3 things in
Markets

 

🔔 Before the opening bell: US stock futures are flat Wednesday ahead of the Fed’s interest-rate decision

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1. Here’s who got paid on Instacart’s IPO. From Sequoia Capital and D1 Capital Partners to Instacart’s cofounders and management team, here’s the value of the stakes of various key shareholders. The grocery brand’s $660 million IPO, and Arm’s big debut last week, could point to a thawing of the public markets in 2024.

 

2. The key signals to watch to get ahead of the market. A note from Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management’s chief investment officer highlighted six indicators, like small business optimism and consumer sentiment, that give a sense of the health of the US economy.

 

3. How to avoid sky-high mortgage rates. Real-estate investors pointed to seller financing and subject-to-financing as two workarounds. Both options offer more flexibility with rates but require more direct negotiating with the seller.

 
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1. Instacart founder Apoorva Mehta’s bittersweet IPO. Going public typically means a victory lap for most startup founders. But Mehta had a messy dispute with some of the company’s largest investors. So once Instacart completes its IPO, Mehta will walk away from “the one thing [he has] thought about for every waking minute of the last decade.”

 

2. The data is in — ChatGPT is mainly a tool for cheating on homework. When the summer began, web traffic to ChatGPT suddenly fell. Now that school is back, its traffic also rebounded, confirming the theory.

 

3. Welcome back to Cerebral Valley. The Cerebral Valley AI Summit version 2.0 — also called CVAI2 — is coming back for a second year. Last year, it was responsible for igniting a $1.3 billion generative AI deal.

 
3 things in
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1. Private investors are jacking up rents and ripping off college students. Student housing now goes beyond on-campus dorms, small apartments, and shared houses. Private companies are now turning college life into a luxurious experience. But it comes with an eye-popping price tag.

 

2. The intense, 17-hour days of the American Express CEO. Steve Squeri spends about three hours per day answering emails. Squeri leaves his home around 15 minutes after waking up and reportedly eats a Chopt salad at his desk every day for lunch.

 

3. How All Elite Wrestling turned into WWE’s biggest competitor. AEW launched in 2019, and its owner Tony Khan is revealing how he grew his company. The road to success included weekly TV shows, sold-out pay-per-views, and working more than 80 hours per week.

 
 

In other news

 

 
 

What’s happening today
  • The Fed will announce whether it will raise interest rates again or implement a pause.
  • U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland is set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.
  • It’s spooky season: A new season of “American Horror Story” debuts on FX. This season features Kim Kardashian.
  • Earnings today: FedEx, General Mills, and other companies.

 

 
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The Insider Today team

Dan DeFrancesco, senior editor and anchor, in New York City. Diamond Naga Siu, senior reporter, in San Diego. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York City.

 

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