Goldman Sachs is shaking up the way it selects members for one of the most elite clubs on Wall Street — and it’s just another sign that incoming CEO Solomon is firmly in charge (GS)

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Goldman Sachs is shaking up the way it selects members for one of the most elite clubs on Wall Street — and it’s just another sign that incoming CEO Solomon is firmly in charge (GS)


David Solomon (right) speaks with Sir Richard Branson at the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Summit in Washington.

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in which current partners and other employees engage in a series of lengthy discussions about the candidate’s performance, is time-consuming and can take several months.

That’s already shrunk this year’s list versus where it might have been in years past, one of the people said. The final selections are expected to number less than 100, according to the people, though the final size hasn’t been determined. It may be smaller than the 2016 class of 84 executives, one of them said.

Goldman selects partners every two years, a throwback to its history as a private partnership and an attempt to preserve a culture that officially ended when the bank went public in 1999. The rank of Goldman Sachs partner is still one of the most sought after titles on Wall Street, largely for the wealth it can bring. Those who get called up are given a raise, a sizable chunk of the bonus pool and investment opportunities not available to other employees.

Partners day-to-day work lives don’t change drastically, though they’re expected to take on more responsibilities in the form of partner meetings and firmwide committees. Currently, more than 400 of Goldman’s roughly 36,000 employees are partners.

The changes come as Solomon is looking to zero in on revenue growth as Goldman looks to generate an additional $5 billion by 2020. He also wants more diverse perspectives involved in the firm’s most important decisions. It’s the latest sign, coupled with a series of significant management changes, that Solomon is moving swiftly to put his mark on the makeup and direction of the firm even before Oct. 1, his first official day as CEO.

It also shows how big banks — after years of bulking up compliance departments and addressing regulatory issues following the financial crisis — are back to making money again.

To oversee the partnership process and enact some of the outlined changes, Goldman has named Julian Salisbury to co-run the firm’s powerful partnership committee. Salisbury will take the place of recently departed trading chief Pablo Salame and lead the panel alongside investment management co-head Eric Lane. Lane has held the role since February 2017.

Salisbury runs the firm’s special situations group, a business that makes principal investments in, and provides financing to, medium-sized companies around the world. He’s kept a low profile, but his unit is one of the firm’s most lucrative. Prior to his current role, he ran the group in Europe after a successful stint establishing its presence in the former Soviet Union. He joined Goldman in 1998 and made partner a decade later.

His addition is not the only change to the panel’s composition. In June, Solomon pushed to add eight women to the partnership panel, bringing the total number to 12, or about 40%, two people with knowledge of the appointments said earlier this year. Among the additions were Sheila Patel, head of the asset-management arm’s international business; Liz Martin, global head of electronic trading; Amanda Hindlian, chief operating officer for the investment research department; and Christina Minnis, global head of acquisition finance.

The full membership of the partnership committee is closely guarded, and a Goldman spokesman wouldn’t give a full list. In addition to providing one of the final sign-offs on the selection of each biannual class, it also spearheads initiatives intended to preserve and foster the firm’s partnership culture.

Goldman is expected to name its list of new partners later this fall.

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