It’s that time of year at Goldman Sachs. On Thursday this week the bank will announce its 2019 managing director (MD) class. Suggestions are already being made about the likely names on the list.
In the securities division they include: Conor Quinn, a macro salesman at Goldman Sachs in New York who by all accounts should have been promoted last time; Rob Williams, the former Olympic silver medalist, who joined Goldman’s securities division in 2012; or Hekmat Tannous, an emerging markets and crypto currencies specialist; or Nick Baltas, who heads systematic trading strategies for the bank. No one knows who’s even on the long list as the selection takes place in secret.
This year’s MD promotion round matters, not only because it’s the first under David Solomon but because it’s expected to be very small. In the past few years Goldman has also hired large numbers of executive directors externally, who will now expect to be promoted (Baltas is among them).
Solomon’s new MD class is likely to reflect his own priorities. Although his five-year plan for Goldman isn’t being unveiled until early 2020 it’s already clear that it will involve a pivot towards ‘platform businesses’ that require a large upfront investment in technology and platform-construction, but that generate ongoing revenues at negligible marginal cost thereafter (at least that’s the theory). From this point of view, technologists, heads of the retail bank, and investment bankers may be favoured above salespeople and sales traders.
The last MD class at Goldman was promoted in 2017 and was its largest ever at 509 people, 44% of whom were millennials and 24% of whom were women. In 2017, 25% of Goldman’s new MDs were from the securities division, 20% were from IBD, 10% were from engineering and less than 2% were from the consumer business.
Also of interest this year will be the presence or not of new MDs in Paris and Frankfurt. Headhunters caution that there could be comparatively few MD slots available in EMEA after Goldman hired-in various new MDs in recent months. They include Melissa Plaza-Marriott from Morgan Stanley, who was promoted from ED to MD in the process, Mahir Zaimoglu from JPMorgan, and Sergeii Hierner from Goldman Sachs.
“It’s a lottery there,” says one investment banking headhunter. “It’s all down to team and personal revenues and politics, but there will be very few in Europe in IB coverage. It’s going to be weighted towards the U.S. and Asia.”
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