Goldman Sachs is facing a significant change as Jim Esposito, a key figure in the company for almost three decades and co-head of its expansive global banking and markets division, has announced his departure. Esposito, instrumental in merging the investment-banking and trading teams during the 2022 reorganization, had ambitions of becoming president or CEO at Goldman. His decision to leave suggests that he perceived limited near-term prospects for these positions, especially given CEO David Solomon’s indication that he doesn’t plan on stepping down soon.
While President John Waldron eyes the CEO role, competition is growing, with Marc Nachmann, head of Goldman’s asset- and wealth-management division, emerging as a contender. Dan Dees, Esposito’s co-head, is also seen as having a strong chance of advancing within the firm.
Esposito, now 56, joined Goldman in 1995 and played a crucial role in steering the company towards higher returns in its trading business. He opposed the expansion into consumer lending, influencing the decision to refocus on the bank’s traditional strengths in dealmaking and trading in late 2022.
Having been named managing director in 2002 and partner in 2006, Esposito held various roles within investment banking, including chief operating officer and co-head of the global financing group. During the 2022 reorganization, he, along with co-heads Dan Dees and Ashok Varadhan, led the unified global banking and markets team. Dees and Varadhan will continue to run the team following Esposito’s departure.
Goldman Sachs CEO Solomon acknowledged Esposito’s contributions, stating, “No matter the role, Jim has dedicated himself to our business with a keen focus on serving our clients, promoting effective risk management, and enhancing the culture of the firm.”
Esposito’s retirement is expected to take effect in the coming months, after which he will serve as a senior director. Solomon expressed gratitude and wrote, “On a personal note, I am grateful for Jim’s counsel, friendship and sense of humor during our many years of collaboration”.
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