Back in April, both the New York Times and Charlie Gasparino claimed they'd heard Lloyd Blankfein was tired. So tired, they were told, that a regular nap would not suffice, but rather an entire lifestyle change was necessary, which included quitting his job. Goldman Sachs said the reports were untrue and reassured us at the time that Lloyd would be with us for many years to come. Unfortunately, the stories opened the door for people to start speculating about who might take over for LB when-- we don't even want to say it let alone think it-- he decides he's done running Goldman Sachs. They included current president Gary Cohn, vice-chairmen Michael Evans and Michael Sherwood, the latter of which was recently named Gary Cohn’s successor as chairman of the partnership committee, as well as “more junior candidates” like, David Heller, Harvey Schwartz, and David Solomon. Today Reuters reports that despite being less known than some of the other names, Solomon "might have what it takes to lead Wall Street's most powerful bank."
While it remains to be seen whether his slight resemblance** to Lloyd will be a good or a bad thing for his candidacy (will the fact that he kind of looks like LB serve as a constant reminder that he's not LB and never will be?) insiders are apparently into Solomon's laid-back attitude and the fact that he's not a trader. Here's a little more info on Lloyd Lite.
* 49 years old
* Graduate of Hamilton College (B-plus average, political science)
* Worked at Salomon Brothers, Drexel Burnham Lambert and Bear Stearns until 1999
* Words that would describe him: "modest," "humble," "casual demeanor," "tenacious," "hard-working" and "shrewd."
* Has "the pull of JPMorgan vice-chairman Jimmy Lee...clients feel he's a smart guy who's going to be very responsive to their needs"
* He's "a great leader and manager," according to former Bear Stearns CEO Alan Schwartz. "A lot of people are just practitioners, but he knows how to inspire, manage and lead other professionals."
* Has eaten food within spitting distance of notable former Wall Street execs ("Solomon was recently spotted having lunch at the Four Seasons Restaurant in midtown Manhattan in a room full of Wall Street heavyweights. Lee was chatting nearby with billionaire Home Depot founder Ken Langone. At another table sat prominent financiers Steve Rattner and Damon Mezzacappa, both of whom were once top executives at Lazard Ltd.")
* He's got more cushin' for the pushin' (Reuters describes Solomon as "paunchy" which normally would've been uncalled for were not for the fact that, years back, there was a little more of Lloyd to love, until he added dominating swimming competitions to his extra-curricular activities, and perhaps it's meant to underscore the fact that Solomon will be following in LB's footsteps in more way than one).
* He didn't stand a chance at winning the Kentucky Derby this year. ("The only negative I see for David -- whom I like and admire and find very smart and a very good banker -- is that he is just a mongrel," said William Cohan, who knows Solomon from writing books about Bear Stearns and Goldman Sachs. "He's not a thoroughbred from Goldman Sachs.")
Dark Horse Contender In CEO Race [Reuters]
**No offense to David, but he's got neither the patented grin nor the twinkle.