A veteran banker who also DJs under the stage name D-Sol has been named as the next chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs.
David Solomon, 56, will take over from the current boss, Lloyd Blankfein, on 1 October. Blankfein steered the bank into and out of the aftermath of the financial crisis – a crisis that proved almost existential for Goldman Sachs. The bank has recovered but he leaves as its trading business, once seen as the bank’s core strength, is struggling.
The move ends months of speculation about Blankfein’s successor and a high-profile power struggle within the bank.
Solomon is an investment banker – marking a sharp change in direction for a bank that has long been dominated by traders. Solomon, the current president of the bank, is also a yoga practitioner and plays electronic dance music as DJ D-Sol.
Solomon recently released his first single, a remix of the Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop. His biography on Spotify, where he has 550,509 monthly listeners, reads: “His personal mantra is to never lose sight of what you are passionate about.” Last March he played a gig in Miami as part of the Paul Oakenfold Generations World Tour.
In a Goldman Sachs podcast last year Solomon said: “If you can’t find a way to have passions and pursue passions and mix them into your professional life and personal life in some way shape or form, it’s just harder to have the energy to keep on doing this.”
But he acknowledged his second career was unlikely to dispel the cloud that still hangs over the banking sector’s public perception. “I don’t know whether seeing a president of Goldman Sachs spinning tunes at a club is going to change the perception of the industry. We have got a lot of work to do on that front,” he said.
Blankfein became chairman and chief executive of Goldman in 2006, at the height of the housing bubble. The collapse of the housing market, the toxic assets on the bank’s books and the bank’s role in facilitating that crisis almost proved its undoing.
But Blankfein successfully fought to get the bank back on track and the announcement of his retirement came on a day when Goldman reported a $2.6bn profit for the second quarter, capping the firm’s strongest first half since 2009.
Solomon became frontrunner for the job after his fellow co-president Harvey Schwartz reportedly gave the bank an ultimatum he would resign unless named chief executive. The move backfired and Schwartz retired in February.
Born in Hartsdale, New York, Solomon attended Hamilton College, a liberal arts college in New York, and studied political science and government. His banking career started at Irving Trust before spells at Drexel Burnham (an investment bank forced into bankruptcy amid a trading scandal in 1990) and Bear Stearns (which collapsed in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis).
He moved to Goldman in 1999 and spent 10 years leading Goldman’s investment banking division. In July 2007, he secured the initial public offering (IPO) of LuLulemon Athletica after having his team dress in the “athleisure” brand’s clothes rather than suits for the meeting. He wore a maroon blazer and sweatpants.
Blankfein said: “David is the right person to lead Goldman Sachs. He has demonstrated a proven ability to build and grow businesses, identified creative ways to enhance our culture and has put clients at the center of our strategy.”
He added: “I want to express my deep appreciation for the opportunity to work with and benefit from so many talented and dedicated colleagues. My job has also allowed me to engage with many of the most impressive business leaders around the world and I thank them for allowing me to help support their goals and priorities
Solomon said he was “honored and humbled” to take over at Goldman Sachs, adding: “I am excited about the opportunities for growth and know how vital our culture of client service and teamwork is to our success.”
This article was written by Dominic Rushe in New York, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 17th July 2018 15.44 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010