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Are women getting pushed out of Goldman?

Ok, let me get this straight. 50% of male partners have quit Goldman in the last five years, vs two-thirds for women. That’s clearly workplace gender discrimination! Right?


Err…wait a minute. In 2021 Goldman leaked an internal survey that showed analysts at the firm averaged 98 hour work weeks. Assuming some of those workers are women who aspire to have a family and a career is it possible they might be more inclined to exit that vicious shark tank for a “life”?


Of course not. The same bastards that work the minions to death prefer seeing men writhe on the floor.



Women Aren’t Getting the Big Jobs at Goldman Sachs, and They’re Heading for the Exits

The Wall Street giant pledged to bring more women into senior ranks. Instead, top talent says better opportunities are elsewhere.


By Anna Maria Andriotis and Andrea Fuller, WSJ

March 13, 2024


When David Solomon became CEO of Goldman Sachs just over five years ago, he made promoting women to senior levels of the firm a priority. On Monday, he’ll host several women partners for dinner at his Manhattan apartment where he’ll face questions on why that hasn’t worked out.


Roughly two-thirds of the women who were partners at the end of 2018 have left the firm or no longer have the title, a Wall Street Journal analysis found. The same can be said of just under half of male partners at the time.


No woman currently runs a major division or is seen internally as a credible candidate to one day succeed Solomon. Two of the eight executive officers at Goldman are women—in legal and accounting, nonrevenue generating positions.


In Goldman’s core division of investment banking and markets, a number of star women partners have left or are no longer partners after they saw little or no path to moving up the ranks. Many women who left the firm found better opportunities elsewhere.

“Advancing women into our most senior ranks is an area where we have not accomplished our goals,” Solomon said in a written statement to the Journal. “Our longer term success depends significantly on developing female partners in senior roles.”


Stephanie Cohen was a successful investment banker who was moved to co-head the consumer and wealth management business around the end of 2020, making her one of the few women in Goldman’s history to run a major division at the firm. But the consumer business already had deep flaws and high-level critics within the company, and it continued to be disparaged—in one gathering of the partners last year, its strategy was called “bullshit.” After billions in losses, Goldman is pulling back from the business. Cohen went on leave last June for personal reasons, and now she isn’t expected to return, according to some partners.


Beth Hammack, a top-performing trader for two decades, was moved to co-head global financing in the investment banking division after losing out on the CFO position. Goldman announced last month Hammack would retire and become a senior director, which Goldman described as an advisory role. She is leaving because she doesn’t see either of the positions she is interested in, one of which is the CFO job, opening up anytime soon. Hammack said she has had “incredible opportunities” at Goldman.


Susie Scher, who was named partner in 2006, knew her rise to the top of investment banking was over when she was named chair of global financing in 2021—a less coveted position widely understood to put her out of the running to become a division head. Scher, who is now a senior adviser at Goldman, told Solomon in the summer she no longer wanted to be a partner.


Goldman’s sprawling markets division, a moneymaking center of the company, has lost nearly all of its longer-tenured women partners. One of the last ones remaining, Anne Marie Darling, is planning to leave the firm soon, according to some partners.


Other high-level departures in recent years include Katie Koch, who was in Goldman’s asset-management division for 20 years and now runs money manager TCW Group. Dina Powell McCormick, global head of Goldman’s sovereign business and a member of its management committee, left to become vice chairman at merchant bank BDT & MSD Partners. Christina Ma, Goldman’s head of Greater China equities, is now HSBC’s head of global banking for Asia Pacific. Heather Miner, who during a roughly 19-year career at Goldman held senior posts including global head of investor relations, is now chief operating officer at Advent International. And Margaret Anadu, also with the firm for roughly 19 years, is now a senior partner at private-investment firm Vistria Group.


Goldman’s spokesman said that partner departures at the firm are within historical norms.

The Journal spoke with close to 20 current Goldman partners, both male and female, for this article. The sources include long-tenured and more recently appointed partners who are in investment banking, markets and asset and wealth management.


Few firms on Wall Street have mastered moving women up to their highest ranks, but some Goldman peers appear to have made more progress. At JPMorgan Chase, two leading contenders to replace CEO Jamie Dimon are women. Citigroup’s CEO and Morgan Stanley’s CFO are women.


Turmoil in general at Goldman in recent years has led to both men and women leaving. But management decisions and practices have had a bigger impact on the smaller pool of women partners. In one division, restructuring had the effect of adding male executives above some women, putting more distance between them and a top decision maker. In another division, new experience requirements were added for advancement that by their nature came from working in areas where there were fewer women. Some women were moved to divisions outside their areas of expertise, which partners say hobbled their success.


Current partners also described cases in which, separate from performance reviews, the work of female partners was denigrated. Some female partners have been concerned that one of the most powerful executives at Goldman, Marc Nachmann, now global head of asset and wealth management, has been undermining their careers by saying to other executives that they can’t lead, don’t know how to do their jobs, are “light” or lack substance.

While some said Nachmann is equally critical of men, “He is blind to the fact that it is harder to do what I do because I am a woman here,” said one female partner.


“The women I’ve worked with here are the best leaders in our industry,” Nachmann said in a statement. “I continue to be committed to personally investing in their growth and advancement to the most senior levels on my team and across the firm.”


Jacqueline Arthur, Goldman’s global head of human capital management, said in a statement that in the development process for the firm’s most senior professionals, senior leaders need to be able to have candid discussions about both strengths and areas of development.


The overall problem of bringing women into the top levels will be discussed at the Monday dinner at Solomon’s apartment. Women partners said gatherings on the issue have occurred previously and that they’ve seen little results. Some women who are invited to the coming dinner said they plan to press Solomon on just how much women are being included, as one said, “in the real workings of the firm.” Some of the longer-tenured women partners who weren’t invited are said to be displeased.


Fewer senior women

Goldman said the percentage of the roughly 400 current partners who are women is the highest in the firm’s history. The Journal found that about 19% of partners are now women, up from 16% in 2018, based on a Securities and Exchange Commission filing and other publicly available information, as well as interviews with current and former employees.

But the current roster is disproportionately made up of women from recent partner classes. About a third of current women partners are from the 2022 class, the last time Goldman announced its new partner group, compared with roughly 17% for men.

The median current partner tenure is roughly three years for women and seven for men. Partners with longer tenure tend to be more powerful, represent greater decision-making authority and are more likely to run major divisions.


Goldman said it has increased the number of women it recruits out of college and those it promotes to vice president, managing director and partner. “We are very fortunate to have extraordinary female partners,” Solomon said in his statement to the Journal. “We are encouraged where we’ve made progress and very focused on where we have not.”


Last year, Goldman agreed to pay $215 million to settle a class-action lawsuit covering a large group of current and former female employees that alleged the bank systematically discriminated against women in associate and vice president positions in some divisions. Employees typically rise through lower level roles such as these to reach partner.

Hammack, who has been at the firm for roughly 30 years, was named partner in 2010 and had become global treasurer in 2018. She was on a shortlist of candidates to become finance chief when the job turned over around the end of 2021. She lost out to current CFO Denis Coleman, who had been named partner in 2008 and was a co-head of the global financing group. Hammack instead took over the global financing role from Coleman.

Hammack is one of two women with a revenue-producing role on the firm’s 25-person management committee. The other is Cohen, the partner who is on leave and now not likely to return. Cohen has been in charge of Platform Solutions, which includes the consumer-lending efforts Goldman is winding down.


Scher was the first woman to co-head the global financing group and was in the running to eventually become a co-head of investment banking—viewed by many as one of the most powerful jobs in the investment banking industry.


When she instead was made chair of the global financing group in 2021, the job that has little potential for advancement within the company, Scher expressed her disappointment to higher-ups including Solomon. She was told room needed to be made for others to move up. Her previous position on the global financing group was filled by a male partner.


Meetings to hear concerns

Goldman’s sprawling markets division, which includes sales and trading, lost many of its women partners to other divisions or to other companies between 2020 and 2022, when Nachmann and Ashok Varadhan were in charge. Nachmann, now the asset and wealth management head, and Varadhan, now co-head of global banking and markets, Goldman’s two major divisions, are both seen as potential president and CEO candidates.


At markets, the executives decided that in order to run groups in the division, especially in the U.S., candidates would need to have experience across the markets business, including on risk and liquidity. Many women partners at the time were in sales rather than trading and as a result didn’t meet some of those requirements. While men were also affected, the policy in practice had a bigger impact on women and became a reason for some of the departures.


The Goldman spokesman said many of the women partners who left transitioned into significant opportunities at the firm, including running businesses.


In asset management, changes in early 2022 overseen by Solomon and President and COO John Waldron created several new leadership jobs. Men were chosen to fill the positions, in some cases passing over women with more or equal tenure and experience in the division. The new setup and other changes resulted in a bigger distance between some executives and their ultimate boss and contributed to departures from the company.


The spokesman said the changes involved consolidating multiple businesses that had their own leadership structures, allowing Goldman “to reduce the number of partners necessary to run that business by 29 across 2022 and 2023, 24 of whom were men.”


Solomon has arranged several meetings in recent years for women partners to express their concerns. One that occurred toward the end of 2022, following a previous wave of departures, raised several issues. Women present said that Nachmann had no women reporting to him at the time—one does currently—and that there were too few women in revenue-producing positions and on the management committee. At Goldman, the chances of becoming a division head if you don’t have a revenue-producing job are low, and the most powerful executives tend to be on the management committee.


Cohen, the Platform Solutions head who is not likely to return, was regarded as a rising star from early in her career. In 2017, she was promoted to chief strategy officer and was later tapped to co-head consumer and wealth management. In the fall of 2022, she was named head of the new unit that would include Goldman’s credit-card partnerships and other consumer lending. Less than a decade earlier, Goldman’s move into Main Street was seen as a hot new avenue for growth. More recently, the company was finding that much of the consumer business didn’t gel with its traditional investment banking and trading focuses, and powerful executives were unhappy with its money-losing endeavors.


During a discussion about the consumer business at a management-committee meeting in the fall of 2022, Nachmann told Cohen she wasn’t making sense, the Journal previously reported. Then at a meeting of the partnership last year, he said the consumer business had a “bullshit” strategy, according to partners who heard him.


Nachmann has criticized other female partners’ work. Last year, Meena Flynn learned that he was speaking negatively of her in conversations with other senior executives. Flynn, who is one of Goldman’s most senior women in a revenue-producing role and has been with the firm for more than 23 years, became concerned that he was undermining her credibility. She spoke with Solomon and Waldron, and the two men told her that they and the firm support and value her.


In February, Goldman announced that Flynn was becoming co-head of OneGS, an initiative at the firm that focuses on selling clients in one division services from another, while keeping her position as global co-head of private wealth management. The move is an expansion of her responsibilities.


Flynn “is an exceptionally talented, valued and experienced senior leader in the firm,” Waldron, Goldman’s president, said in a statement. “David, Marc, and I are thrilled for her to continue to deliver for our clients in private wealth management while also taking on this critical role co-leading OneGS.”


Recent developments have stoked frustrations with women partners.

When Jim Esposito, one of three co-heads of global banking and markets, recently announced his departure, the firm said it had no plans to replace him, upsetting some who see it as another missed opportunity to put a woman in a senior role.


Goldman recently created committees for investment banking, markets and private wealth to work on strategic initiatives, whose members are being positioned as likely future leaders of the firm. Each has about a dozen members. Hammack was asked to join the investment-banking committee, but following her departure, it will, as of now, include only one woman. The markets committee also has just one woman. Private wealth, by contrast, has six women among its 11 members.


When senior asset-management executives met last year to discuss hiring more women and minorities, the asset and wealth unit’s chief risk officer, Milton Millman, asked what if there were no qualified women for the positions they were looking to fill, which didn’t sit well with several people who were present, according to people there. Goldman hired four women investors from outside the company as managing directors around the fall of last year.


The 2021 change in the CFO position has been another flashpoint. When Goldman’s previous finance chief, Stephen Scherr, decided to leave, two women were in the running to replace him, but neither got the job. In addition to Hammack, Sheara Fredman, chief accounting officer and controller at Goldman, was a contender.


Fredman, who was named partner in 2012, asked Solomon why she wasn’t chosen and was told she needed more experience. She is still interested in becoming the next CFO.

Write to AnnaMaria Andriotis at annamaria.andriotis@wsj.com and Andrea Fuller at andrea.fuller@wsj.com

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