Generally speaking, when people gather around to play a parlor game of guessing who will replace whom on Wall Street, they a) are discussing Chief Executive Officers and b) choosing one of several names for their pick of successor. Not today. Because today we speak of David Viniar, Goldman Sachs' Chief Financial Officer since 1999. According to Bloomberg, DV "may not be replaceable," period. Logic dictates that that should be the end of the discussion. In the event Viniar decides not to work for Goldman in perpetuity, however, contingency plans must be made. As such, a few names of potential successors have been thrown out (Controller and Chief Accounting Officer Sarah Smith, Treasurer Elizabeth “Liz” Beshel) and while they sound like okay candidates, are simply not enough. Because in this particular case, we need an army to replace one man.
The longest-serving chief financial officer of any major Wall Street firm may find his multiple roles distributed among two or even three deputies when he eventually steps down, according to two people with knowledge of the firm’s internal deliberations...Some executives at the firm are skeptical that any single successor would be as adept as Viniar in handling all those functions, the people familiar with the situation said.
Has the gravity of the situation not yet penetrated? Then let us lay some truth on your ass.
Investors are more concerned about Viniar’s eventual successor than they are about replacing Blankfein, 56, the chairman and chief executive officer since 2006, said Roger A. Freeman, an analyst at Barclays Capital...“David’s the brains behind the operation -- the institutional knowledge that guy has is just unmatched,” said Roger A. Freeman, an analyst at Barclays Capital, who has a “neutral” rating on Goldman Sachs shares. “It’s difficult to imagine that there are many people that can juggle as many balls as he does seemingly effortlessly.”
That's right, ladies. While Lloyd has been working us with that smile, it's been Viniar who's been working the command center. When he leaves, which he says he won't "until a sense of calm has been restored in the operating environment," Goldman is going to have to provide forty, possibly fifty people, working at together at full capacity, to maybe do the job of one Viniar.
Being Goldman Sachs’s Brains May Make Viniar Irreplaceable CFO [Bloomberg via BI]