We haven’t had the chance to use the phrase “fighting like ferrets” for a while. But the news today that Scott Kapnick, co-head of investment banking at Goldman Sachs, will leave the firm at the end of the year is prompting speculation of a continuing power struggle at Goldman.
The speculation is totally out there now, and it’s kind of fun to watch news organizations which pretend they don’t speculate engage in it.
Here’s how Bloomberg does it:
Goldman, the most profitable investment bank in Wall Street history, filled its top ranks with former trading executives in June when Blankfein succeeded Henry Paulson as CEO and named Cohn and Winkelried as his deputies. A month later, Blankfein removed Kapnick, a career investment banker, as co-chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs International and replaced him with Richard Gnodde, former president of Goldman Sachs Asia.
In April, Kapnick denied speculation of a power struggle amid senior management in London, according to the Times of London. Richard Sharp, who ran Goldman's buyout business in Europe, said in July he would leave at the end of the year.”
Reuters is a little more coy:
Kapnick's move is the latest in a string of management changes since July, when Chairman and Chief Executive Henry "Hank" Paulson left to become U.S. Treasury Secretary, succeeded by Lloyd Blankfein.
DealBook then picks up the Reuters story and ruins the party by explaining the subtext:
The latest departure comes as analysts are watching for signs of any shift in the balance of power between Goldman’s trading and investment banking businesses. Mr. Blankfein came up through the ranks of Goldman’s trading business, unlike his predecessor, Henry Paulson, who was a banker. The differing career paths have led some analysts to wonder if the firm’s trading business will be given more attention or prestige under the new leadership.
Of course, engaging in that kind of rampant speculation is totally beneath us here at DealBreaker. And by "beneath" we mean that we invite you to engage in more of it in the comments section directly below this post.
Goldman Investment Banking Co-Head Kapnick to Leave [Bloomberg]
Goldman investment bank co-head Kapnick to retire [Reuters]
Goldman’s Co-Head of Investment Banking to Leave [DealBook]