Michael Sherwood, Goldman's co-chief of European operations, is calling it quits. Taking over the London office now is the yin to his yang, the Buzz to his Woody, the Thin Dick to his Fat Mike: Richard Gnodde.
While Sherwood is seen as a brash, no-bullshit kind of bloke – an enforcer – the South African born Gnodde has been described as tall and suave, if lacking in charming nicknames. “He looks, and talks, like he has stepped out of a 1970s men’s knitwear catalogue,” the Sunday Times wrote of him in 2009.
Sherwood rose to prominence in the rough-and-tumble of the London debt market of the late 1980s and 1990s. Gnodde came up in the cool, diplomatic world of M&A, first in Goldman's Asian operations and later in London.
The transition reflects the evolution of the investment banking business, as advisory work has picked up the slack dropped by trading units curtailed by regulations. “A part of winning back trust for the financial sector is showing itself to be of great value, rather than a source of excessive risk,” Gnodde said in 2011.
Gnodde's magnum opus was advising steel titan Lakshmi Mittal's big-dollar takeover of Arcelor in 2006. Mittal is just one of Gnodde's notable chums; he's also reported to be friendly with ex-Bank of England Governor Mervyn King and former BP chief Lord Browne of Madingley.
Gnodde's ascent could also hint toward a Post-Brexit Goldman. The bank hinted that the referendum's success could mean more operations in continental Europe. Gnodde, for his part, apparently has a taste for Frankfurt.