Goldman Sachs’ Harvey Schwartz exits, clearing way for new CEO

Departure will make David Solomon the sole contender to replace Lloyd Blankfein/

The race to succeed Lloyd Blankfein as the chief executive of Goldman Sachs has narrowed to one candidate after the surprise departure of one of the US investment bank’s top executives.

Harvey Schwartz, the 54-year-old president and co-chief operating officer, has decided to step down on 20 April, leaving David Solomon, 56, as sole president and chief operating officer, the bank announced.

Both had been seen as likely successors to Blankfein, the bank’s longstanding chairman and chief executive, so Schwartz’s departure paves the way for Solomon to eventually become the Wall Street firm’s next boss.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Blankfein was expected to leave the firm at the end of this year and mentioned Schwartz and Solomon as the two top contenders to replace him.

Both became co-chief operating officers and presidents of Goldman in January 2017 after Gary Cohn left to work for the Trump administration. Cohn announced his resignation from the White House last week.

Promoting Solomon to chief executive would be a departure for Goldman, which has been led by traders in recent years. Trading was the main profit engine in 2006 when Blankfein took the helm, replacing Henry Paulson, who became US Treasury secretary. Since then the bank has moved into new areas such as consumer banking.

Solomon joined Goldman as a partner in 1999 and ran its investment banking arm from 2006 until 2016. A Reuters profile in 2011 named him as a future CEO candidate.

Solomon previously worked at Bear Stearns and Drexel Burnham Lambert – the investment bank that pioneered the use of junk bonds for corporate takeovers under Michael Milken, who was jailed for securities fraud.

Outside work, Solomon is known as DJ D-Sol, spinning dance music at nightclubs, according to the New York Times. He also does yoga with his adult daughter, dines out more frequently than some food critics and is a wine connoisseur.

WSJ reported that Solomon gave zero bonuses to 5% of his bankers, hinting that they should look for another job, but has also led efforts to lighten the workload for junior bankers and to recruit and promote more women.

Schwartz spent 20 years at Goldman, working in a number of operations including running its trading arm, and a four-year stint as chief financial officer.

Blankfein said of him: “Harvey’s work ethic, command of complexity, and client focus have defined his career at the firm. Harvey has been a mentor to many, and his influence has made an indelible impact on generations of professionals at Goldman Sachs.”

He added: “I look forward to continuing to work closely with David in building our franchise around the world, serving our expanding client base and delivering strong returns for our shareholders.”