Jim Esposito Exits Goldman Sachs In Latest Shake-up At Wall Street Giant

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Jim Esposito, a top executive of Goldman Sachs (GS) is leaving, raising new questions about the race to succeed CEO David Solomon and capping a period of high-profile management and board changes for the Wall Street giant.

Jim Esposito, who had been co-head of Goldman’s global banking and markets division, will leave after nearly three decades, according to a memo viewed by Yahoo Finance. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report the departure.

The 56-year-old Esposito joined Goldman in 1995 as a salesperson in emerging markets debt. He became managing director in 2002 and partner in 2006 and held several important positions within the company’s investment banking business.

In 2022, when Goldman brought together its investment banking and trading operations into one unit, Esposito was named co-head of that operation along with Dan Dees and Ashok Varadhan.

Dees and Varadhan will run it once Esposito leaves in the coming months. Esposito plans to remain a senior director.

“On a personal note, I am grateful for Jim’s counsel, friendship and sense of humor during our many years of collaboration,” Solomon said in the memo.

Esposito had been viewed on Wall Street as among the possible successors to Solomon, who spent much of last year under internal and external scrutiny as he tried to pull off a tricky retreat from consumer banking while refocusing the firm on its core strengths of investment banking, trading, and asset management.

The surprise departure could focus attention on other potential CEO candidates, including President John Waldron, asset and wealth management head Marc Nachmann, or one of the other co-heads of the investment banking and trading operations.

A lot is in flux at Goldman as it recovers from one of the most challenging years of the last decade. Profits were down 24 per cent as dealmaking slowed across the industry and the firm absorbed costs associated with its consumer lending exit.

Its full-year net income of $8.52 billion was the worst mark for Goldman since 2019, Solomon’s first full year in charge. The firm did, however, post a sizable gain in the fourth quarter as equities trading and wealth management rose.

Even the board of Goldman is changing. This month ex-Goldman CFO David Viniar was named as the board’s lead director to replace Adebayo Ogunlesi, who stepped down after selling his infrastructure investment company to BlackRock.

That makes Viniar, a longtime insider who worked at Goldman for roughly three decades, the second most influential director after Solomon, who is still chair. Another former Goldman executive, Tom Montag, is taking Viniar’s previous post as chair of the board’s risk committee.

Esposito is not the only high-profile departure from the management ranks following the tumult of last year. The head of the commodities trading business, Ed Emerson, will also retire in March after more than 24 years.

Other departures over the last year include Julian Salisbury, who was chief investment officer of asset and wealth management; Dina Powell McCormick, who was head of the bank’s sovereign business; and Jeff Currie, the former global head of commodities research who had been with the firm for 27 years.

Goldman has handed new responsibilities to some longtime insiders amid all of this reshuffling.

Last fall Goldman said one member of its top management committee, Ericka Leslie, was stepping down as chief administrative officer to become chief operating officer of Goldman’s global banking and markets division.

The executive who previously held that role, Will Bousquette, became the next chief operating officer of the bank’s asset and wealth management division. Bousquette succeeded 27-year Goldman veteran Laurence Stein.