Goldman Sachs shakeup in prized division could signal bloodbath: sources

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By Dan Sears

A fresh management shuffle at Goldman Sachs this week could signal that a major bloodbath is looming in its Asset and Wealth Management unit, sources told On The Money. 

On Monday, the Wall Street giant headed by David Solomon announced Will Bousquette – previously chief operating officer of global banking and markets – would be the new COO of AWM.

Bousquette is replacing Laurence Stein, a well-liked and longtime partner who Goldman said was “retiring” at year’s end after nearly three decades at the firm. 

That’s after Stein clashed with his hard-charging boss, Marc Nachmann, who was brought over from banking and markets last October, as first reported by On The Money.

Like Nachmann, Bousquette has the reputation of a cost cutter, insiders said. 

Bousquette is seen as hand-picked by Nachmann given the men have worked closely together in other divisions before.

“Marc has been bringing over a lot of people from the banking and trading side,” a source said. The source added its part of an effort to bring in people who will do his bidding.

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Goldman CEO David Solomon
Toni Misthos

He’s also taking a lead role as leadership decides what to do with the certain redundancies in AWM – a group created last year from merging two divisions.

“Marc and Will are focused on growing what are already big global client businesses across asset and wealth management.  That means investing in areas that are important to our clients and to our firm,” a spokesperson for the bank said in a statement.

“We report asset and wealth management as one segment, like most of our peers.  They are complementary businesses serving different sets of clients. We are not merging them together to create cost efficiencies.”

Solomon has given Nachmann carte blanche to make aggressive cuts at the unit – even as Goldman reportedly prepares to cut the lowest performers company wide in a 1% culling as soon as next month, sources say.

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“Nachman has been given a clear edict: Do whatever it takes to make the group as profitable as possible,” a source said.

Solomon has signaled that AWM — a division created as part of a reported move to reorganize the bank’s structure into a “mini Blackstone” — is key to his strategy since it can prop up earnings when dealmaking is slow and markets are choppy. 

In a statement earlier this week, the bank said of Bousquette’s new role, “He will focus on the continued alignment between our business and operating functions, risk management and the scaling of our technology capabilities, while also helping us to drive progress towards the goals and targets we shared at Investor Day.”

Earlier this month On The Money reported that tension between Stein and Nachmann had reached a head and that Stein was “extremely unhappy.”

Stein’s exit follows a string of departures in AWM including Julian Salisbury, AWM’s former chief investment officer; Luke Sarsfield, former chief commercial officer; and Mike Koester, former co-president of alternatives.

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