Reach Of Gary Cohn Extends To Silent Monastery

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Over at Fortune today you will find a story about Marty Chavez, a Goldman Sachs partner who rejoined the firm 2005 after leaving for several years to found a business, sell it, and retire to Fire Island. Chavez would've been content to live out his life on the beach but one day, this happened:

...he got a call from now-president Gary Cohn, then co-head of global securities. "I heard you sold your company -- congratulations," Chavez recalls him saying. "I heard you retired. That's ridiculous. I was just calling to share with you that you're coming back." When Chavez told him he was burned out on commodities, Cohn suggested investment banking. Chavez didn't know the first thing about banking, but Cohn was insistent.

Generally, when Gary Cohn talks, you listen. He doesn't call to offer you a job, he calls to tell you you're taking it. He doesn't give you time to think things over, he sticks his grundle in your face and asks "What's there to think about?" In this case, however, he knew a more subtle touch was necessary.

So he put this wheels in motion for this to happen:

Chavez was reluctant. But after some soul-searching at a silent monastery in New Mexico, he says he had an epiphany. "It's the only time in my life that I would say there was a clear message from the universe," he says. It might have been that he wanted out of his task for the day -- cleaning toilets -- but Chavez says he realized that he wanted to effect transformation in a global way and that returning to Goldman was the way to do it.

Ah, yes, "the universe," wink-wink. Or was it Gary D. Cohn, who flew down to New Mexico and during Chavez's daily meditation hid behind some shrubbery and whispered "Goooo to Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs is the way, my son"? Only the universe can say.

Marty Chavez: A singular CIO at Goldman Sachs [Fortune]

Related: Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn Likes To Speak To Employees On A Grundle-To-Face Basis; Gary Cohn Would Just As Soon Jettison The Friendly Small Talk With His Father

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As many of you know, here at Dealbreaker we consider ourselves the preeminent scholars on Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn's grundle. Specifically, the grundle-to-face conversations he reportedly enjoys having with employees on the trading floor. So we were more than a little delighted to hear that Greg Smith's book, Why I Left Goldman Sachs, contained a passage describing Cohn's preferred position to assume while havin' a chat. Sayeth Smith: Gary had a very distinctive signature move, one he had become famous for within the firm; I must have seen it ten or fifteen times in action. It didn't matter if the person he was talking to was male or female; he would walk up to the salesman or saleswoman, hike up one leg, plant his foot on the person's desk, his thigh close to the employee's face, and ask how markets were doing. Gary was physically commanding, and the move could have been interpreted as a very primal, alpha-male gesture. I think he just thought it was comfortable. For those who have made claims that Smith's book is light on details that any exposé worth its salt would include, please note that reporters at investigative powerhouse Bloomberg News would probably nod approvingly at the above, based on an article they penned last year. Cohn, 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, can be intimidating, two former colleagues said. He would sometimes hike up one leg, plant his foot on a trader’s desk, his thigh close to the employee’s face, and ask how markets were doing, they said. Earlier: Succeeding Blankfein at Goldman May Be Hurdle Too High for Cohn