- Goldman Sachs on Tuesday named Stephanie Cohen co-head of the bank's consumer and wealth management business, making the 43-year-old arguably the most powerful woman at the company, and the first woman to lead a Goldman division since trading co-chief Isabelle Ealet left the bank in 2018, Bloomberg and the Financial Times reported Tuesday.
- Combining consumer and wealth management into one silo was among the structural changes CEO David Solomon announced in January, both to highlight the bank's consumer growth and to reorganize its quarterly reports to more closely resemble those of rivals such as JPMorgan Chase.
- Cohen's appointment was part of an executive reshuffle at the bank, which began Monday when Harit Talwar, who had led Goldman's Marcus brand for five years, reportedly stepped aside to hand the day-to-day operations of Marcus to his longtime deputy, Omer Ismail.
Cohen's promotion puts her squarely in line for a place in Goldman's C-suite at a time when Wall Street banks are putting a premium on female leadership. Citi's announcement this month that Jane Fraser will replace that bank's CEO, Michael Corbat, upon his retirement in February — putting a woman in charge of a large U.S. bank for the first time — leaves many wondering who's next. Bank of America's chief operating and technology officer, Cathy Bessant; JPMorgan Chase CFO Jennifer Piepszak; and Marianne Lake, the bank's CEO of consumer lending are all seen contending as Wall Street's second female bank boss.
Leading consumer and wealth management with Cohen will be Tucker York, the bank's current wealth management chief. "We see meaningful opportunities to further grow our franchise and advance financial opportunity for consumers," Solomon wrote in a memo seen by the Financial Times. "Stephanie and Tucker will lead our efforts to grow our market share by leveraging all parts of the firm, including our relationships with corporate clients."
Tuesday's moves also align the bank's asset management and merchant banking divisions under the leadership of Eric Lane and Julian Salisbury. Lane co-led consumer and investment management under the bank's old template, along with Tim O'Neill, who will move to a senior advisory role in the bank's executive office. Solomon's reorganization will make the consumer and investment management division obsolete in 2021.
Salisbury, who last year was tapped to lead Goldman's merchant bank, now will have a hand in managing the company's second-largest business by revenue. The bank wants to add $350 billion in client assets over the next few years, including $100 billion in alternative funds such as investments in real estate, private equity and private credit, The Wall Street Journal reported. Goldman is prioritizing asset management because of its low risk, consistent fees and high shareholder returns.
A number of Solomon's moves this year are geared toward lifting a stock price that, according to the Journal, has stayed flat for about four years. While the bank's two big divisions — markets and investment banking — will retain their structure amid the realignment, consumer banking will see quite a shift.
Under Talwar, who pitched Marcus as a "lovable teddy bear" — to counteract Goldman Sachs's recession-era characterization as a "vampire squid" — Marcus helped the bank diversify beyond its investment banking focus, attracting $92 billion in deposits and securing a lucrative credit-card partnership with Apple.
When combined with wealth management, the division that holds consumer banking brought in 10% of the bank's net revenue in its most recent quarter. But four-fifths of that 10% were from the wealth management side. Investment banking, by comparison, accounted for 20% of the bank's net quarterly revenue.
Talwar had told colleagues he saw his leadership of Marcus as a five-year project, according to the Financial Times. Before joining Goldman in 2015, he worked for 11 years with Discover, last serving as president of the U.S. cards division. He also was head of consumer banking at Morgan Stanley, and spent 15 years at Citi, where he worked alongside Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga.
"I've known Harit for 24 years — as a colleague at Citi who helped me understand banking when I joined, and as a friend ever since," Banga told Bloomberg. "I am not surprised at the success he had in building Marcus, and I know he will do great things in the future, too."
Talwar will remain a Goldman partner and become chairman of the bank's consumer division effective Jan. 1.
Ismail, Talwar's replacement atop Marcus, joined Goldman in 2002 as an investment banking analyst and served as a managing director in private equity before moving to the consumer banking unit, where he currently runs U.S. business, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Cohen, too, is a homegrown product, joining Goldman in 1999 in mergers and acquisitions and working her way up to chief strategy officer before Tuesday's announcement.
Russ Hutchinson, one of Goldman's few Black partners, will fill the chief strategy role, the Journal reported.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to include in greater detail Goldman Sachs' changes in leadership.