Stephanie Cohen. Picture: BLOOMBERG
Stephanie Cohen. Picture: BLOOMBERG

New York — Goldman Sachs shuffled its business lines and announced a raft of management changes, including in a new division co-led by Stephanie Cohen, one of the firm’s most-senior female bankers.

The firm is combining asset management and merchant banking as part of its push to raise more client funds for investing instead of betting its own money. The bank also created a new consumer and wealth-management division co-led by Cohen.

Top executives at the firm have groused that investors do not recognise Goldman’s advantages in business lines beyond just deal making and trading, its traditional strengths.

Since David Solomon took over as CEO in 2018, he has sought to emphasise those businesses and organise them into more recognisable silos. The firm’s share price still lags behind Morgan Stanley over the two years Solomon’s been in charge.

In handing off a new business to Cohen, Goldman also helps address a glaring shortfall in its top ranks, where there was not a single woman among the top dozen executives overseeing major decisions or running moneymaking units. The departure of trading co-head Isabelle Ealet in 2018 coincided with the end of Lloyd Blankfein’s tenure as CEO.

Eric Lane and Julian Salisbury will lead the combined asset-management and merchant bank. Lane previously ran the investment-management group, which also included Goldman’s consumer and wealth operations. Salisbury was named 2019 to lead the merchant bank.

It also tackles a uniquely Goldman problem: The firm has been wary of having one person lead an entire division. The merchant bank was left in that situation with Salisbury’s ascent after the exit of the previous division heads, whose departure was announced in February. Merging the asset-management group with the merchant bank aligns with the new push for client funds and restores the practice of having at least two executives in charge.

Other changes:

  • Cohen and Tucker York will lead the consumer and wealth-management business. Cohen was Goldman’s chief strategy officer and, before that, rose up through the investment bank.
  • The bank also announced Omer Ismail will become the new head of its nascent consumer business, replacing Harit Talwar, who will become chair of the group.

Bloomberg

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