Goldman's President Gary Cohn Said To Be Considering Departing Firm

Tyler Durden's picture

Just a day after Goldman COO Gary Cohn unexpectedly met with Donald Trump, he is now said to be "weighing a future outside the firm" the WSJ reports. According to Dow Jones, the bank's "Number 2", who met with Trump on Tursday, has had conversations in recent months about leaving the bank.

As reported yesterday, Cohn, who has been CEO Blankfein’s top deputy for a decade, met with Donald Trump Tuesday. It isn’t clear whether the president-elect is considering Mr. Cohn for a position; Politico reported Wednesday that Mr. Cohn could be a contender to head the Office of Management and Budget. A possible position in the Trump administration comes at a time when Mr. Cohn’s role at Goldman has already been in question. The 56-year-old president and chief operating officer has had conversations in recent months about leaving the bank, according to people familiar with the matter.

As second-in-command, Mr. Cohn oversees Goldman’s daily operations. He joined Goldman in 1990 and became a partner in 1994—a class that also included Mr. Trump’s nominee for Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin.


Mr. Cohn’s background reflects the sort of Midwestern voters who helped power Mr. Trump to a surprise victory. Born in Ohio the son of an electrician, Mr. Cohn’s first job was selling window frames and aluminum siding in Cleveland, and he later sold silver on Wall Street.


In recent years, he has taken on a more public-facing role and struck clients and colleagues as more polished. He has cultivated relationships in Silicon Valley, where Mr. Blankfein is less at ease, and is close to executives such as Uber Technologies Inc.’s Travis Kalanick and Tesla Motors Inc.’s Elon Musk.

A departure by the bank's president would scrap Goldman’s most-obvious succession plan, and in the process elevate a new crop of executives eyeing Blankfein’s job the WSJ notes. It would also signal that Mr. Blankfein, who weathered the financial crisis, survived a bout with cancer and has settled into a role as a senior industry statesman, isn’t going anywhere.

The paper adds that Blankfein's stay has become more accepted within Goldman’s executive ranks in recent months. Michael Sherwood, who ran Goldman’s international business from London and had once been seen as a potential successor, said as much last week when he announced his retirement. “Some people want [the CEO job] passionately; I just didn’t,” Mr. Sherwood said in an interview. “One of those people, by the way, is named Lloyd and he’s not going anywhere. He doesn’t say ‘one more year;’ he says ‘five more years."

Blankfein has been CEO since 2006, and his inner circle of confidants has seen little turnover, leaving few opportunities for promotion lower down the ranks. That has meant that there is little room for Cohn and created what some executives describe as a talent bottleneck. Further, some executives describe growing frustration with the stasis, even while acknowledging that steady leadership likely helped Goldman weather the crisis and rally support for strategic changes.

* * * 

Should Mr. Cohn opt to seek opportunities outside the firm, his role as chief operating officer and president would likely be split between among two executives, people familiar with the matter have said. Goldman has a history of co-executives, and Mr. Cohn split the No. 2 job for several years with Jon Winkelried, who left the firm in 2009.

The likeliest candidates to replace Mr. Cohn, according to people familiar with the matter, are Chief Financial Officer Harvey Schwartz and investment-banking co-chief David Solomon. Outside candidates include R. Martin Chavez, Goldman’s chief technologist, and Stephen Scherr, the strategist who was recently put in charge of Goldman’s push into consumer banking.

Who is tapped will say much about how dramatically the regulatory changes pushed through since the crisis have reshaped Goldman’s priorities and power centers.

As to where Cohn heads next, should he indeed depart Goldman, it is unclear, although considering his recent visit to Trump Tower, a position in the new administration is likely in the cards. Considering another former Goldman Partner is set to advise Trump, that would no longer be all that shocking.

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NumNutt's picture

Hmm, I see a future government employee me thinks....

evoila's picture

Who cares. Anybody who voted for Trump for this reason needs to have their head examined. The primary purpose of electing Trump was to avoid trying to enforce a no-fly zone in Syria and the consequences that would have brought.

The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) evoila Nov 30, 2016 1:32 PM

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.


lil dirtball's picture

The mental gymnastics you Trump supporters have to use to keep the CogDis DT's at bay is simply ... mind boggling.

giorgioorwell's picture

That might have been your particular reason for voting for this con-man but I can guarantee you it wasn't for the other 99% that did.  

sessinpo's picture

And you think trump won't enforce the no fly zone that was passed by the house because of...?

I'm not gonna hold my breath that the senate or trump will stop a no fly zone.

fbazzrea's picture

true that, a purpose, but only one of many good reasons to have voted for DT. one hopes he runs our country like a business and to do that, he requires a loyal, talented team. and Cohn struck me as a possible pre-emptive Fed Chair hedge in the event of an immediate and untimely market crash. the president would want someone sitting at the head of the big table in whom he had confidence and trust. don't think he could say either of those about Yellen. why wait for her to retire. there's a curb coming up in a couple months.

already exhibiting adeptness at building his team, DT will have control of a united House and Senate, which will be crucial for deploying concerted emergency measures rapidly to minimize social and economic devastation arising suddenly from the inevitable long-overdue end to this extremely long-in-the-tooth credit and business cycle. America's greatest threats are the budget and trade deficits. we all know career politicians lack the required skill set to turn either around. that's why we need DT. he is the man of the hour, the Universe's chosen one.

now i'm not saying i agree with his platforms entirely. i've got real environmental concerns; thawing underwater Arctic permafrost is releasing methane in kilometer-wide columns into the atmosphere--and this is the North Pole's dark season. next spring, it will only accelerate. this is a real problem. no make believe.   

in light of glaring evidence to the contrary, it is hard for me to accept climate change is a hoax. however, i agree we should not just hand $billions over to some UN committee to spend as they please. countless efforts are needed right here in America to make improvements in our global footprint. America has to turnaround its consumption economy and begin a green industrial revolution.

one can easily see how all these things are intertwined: environment, energy, business, economy, to name a few. in each of those and more, when compared to our alternatives, rogue businessman, entrepreneur, family man and dealmaker Donald Trump was ahead of the pack. he's not perfect, but there's NO DOUBT Hillary, the only electable alternative, is/was a far, far worse choice by any sane measure.

another difference: do i agree flag-burners should be jailed? no. do i agree with flag burners? depends on the reason. but if we are going to silence flag-burners with jail or expulsion because we don't agree with them, then we have silenced our own voice of liberty. obviously, DT and i disagree. but this is America and we have the right to disagree. and to petition our government peacefully. we cannot forcibly extinguish the voices of dissent in a free nation, lest we become a subdued people subsisting on the government teat, fearful for our meaningless lives.

and of course, there are many other issues for which we voted in blind faith, based on one-liner soundbytes, i.e., education, healthcare and immigration--still many unanswered questions. but again, would one rather Clinton or Trump be leading reform on these matters? i shudder at the thought of facing four years with any of his rivals, Ben Carson, notwithstanding. 

fortunately, one of DT's greatest strengths appears to be receiving diverse counsel before making crucial decisions. Hillary, by contrast, proved herself dogmatically irreversible in her persistent evil Russia agenda despite obvious contradictory evidence. and while some criticize DT for flip-flopping or shifting positions on issues, intellectual humility leaves minds open to change with more information.

long story slightly shorter: who cares? i do. and am so thankful President-elect Trump has offered his service to our great nation.

Arnold's picture

Your IQ or Net Worth?

evoila's picture

It must be my IQ if I'm having a conversation with you.

NumNutt's picture

His choices must have been:

1. take job with white house staff


2. be tossed from roof of building.



Jayda1850's picture

Keep rationalizing Trump supporters.

SloMoe's picture

Wasn't Hank Paulson forced to sell all his GS stock *tax free* when he went into the government? Seems like pretty good timing, even for a squid...

Rainman's picture

And don't forget as a .gov employee he trades on all the inside info  " JAIL FREE "

RopeADope's picture

We will call this administration the Section 1043 administration.

The swamp will engulf the entire nation at this rate.

Wm the Shrubber's picture

Swamp seems to be filling back up.....

Squidbilly's picture
Squidbilly (not verified) Wm the Shrubber Nov 30, 2016 1:24 PM

he said in his rallies he would be hiring some bad dudes

AlexCharting's picture

Trump needs people expert on finance, since a big bear market is around the corner. 

opport.knocks's picture

... just renamed it The Republican National Wildlife Refuge

theondoxazo's picture

Shocking, no.  Disheartening to the deplorables, YES!

Dog Will Hunt's picture

Trump's going to drain the swamp.

Trump's got a master plan--you'll see.

I like this guy--he's going to clean up this mess.

Fooled all you motherfuckers, didn't he...

tmosley's picture

Did you compose that post using your "Jump to Conclusions" mat?

wobblie's picture

Never count out the sucker class from supporting ruling class shills.

roadhazard's picture

I hope they enjoy their new Overlord.

EmmittFitzhume's picture

Maybe he got insider information that Trump is going to abolish the FED, Reinstate Glass-Stegall, and take apart the big banks!!!!    



bchbum's picture

Does being Goldman Sach's number 2 even look good on your resume?  Seems like something Trump should stay away from. 

bchbum's picture

Does being Goldman Sach's number 2 even look good on your resume?  Seems like something Trump should stay away from. 

Soul Glow's picture

Trump the ultimate Yankee.

Miss Informed's picture

Un-flipping-believable. Everything co-opted before the inauguration even.

agNau's picture

Perhaps Munchkin knows a little too much.

Just a little "rationalizing" thought.

Soul Glow's picture

Mnuchin, you mean the WS Hollywood insider jew that is going to run the US Treasury under Donald J. Trump?  You think he knows too much??  

You don't say!

Leatherneck59's picture

Please not another Goldmanite, in a high level government position.

Arnold's picture

It is a comprehensive infestation, isn't it.

j0nx's picture

Filling the supreme court with conservatives is why he was elected. Anything else he does is gravy. Putting the fear back into criminals both American and illegals would also be a nice bonus.

Greenie's picture

Trump's slogan MAGA really meant Making America Golden Again.


giorgioorwell's picture

Getting a little swampy eh?  and he hasn't even started yet....

johnwburns's picture

This is getting confusing. Liberals screaming about Jews, conservatives screaming about Jews, now neocons screaming about Jews. Add that the left call Trump supporters nazis and Putin pawn commies in the same breath and we're in shit post heaven. 

I don't want any more Goldman juice, whatever the "religious" persuasion. Don't want Jamie Diamon either. How do you deal with Wall St as in how do you not lay down with dogs and not get up with fleas? Maybe Sessions can learn Quicken and moonlight. 


Shlomo Schwartzman's picture
Shlomo Schwartzman (not verified) Nov 30, 2016 1:44 PM

Maybe Cohn will become

Secretary of Keeping It Jewy.

U4 eee aaa's picture

Blankfein.....YOU ARE THE CANCER!

Short Squeeze's picture

Lots of bitching about Trump putting bankers in these finance positions.
I fucking hate these cocksuckers/ bloodsuckers as much as the next guy, but
Do we really want to put Sarah Palin or Joe the Plumber in these positions?

johnnycanuck's picture

Push that poll. Push push push

U4 eee aaa's picture

There is more than one freakin' bank in the country. GS is part of the problem. You can't put out fire with gasoline. It really doesn't work son

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. You know that

Lucky Leprachaun's picture

Ron Paul?  Doesn't have to be a bankster you know.