If there is anything sacred amidst all the profanity and excess of Wall Street, it is the partner title at Goldman Sachs. The financial world's closest thing to sainthood, Goldman partnership has been described as “the pinnacle of Wall Street,” a position somewhere between the mafia's “made man” and a rabbi. David Tepper felt so incensed at being passed up for partner ages ago that he later bought and demolished a beach house that once belonged to the Corzine family. Said one former partner: “Don’t tell my wife this, but being made partner was the greatest moment of my life.”
Which is all to say that it must rub some current and aspiring partners the wrong way when some schmuck prances in from left field and stumbles right into the highest echelons of Goldman royalty:
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is hiring a pair of Credit Suisse Group AG bankers, including one at the elite rank of partner, to win business from corporate service providers such as consulting, staffing and security firms.
Jeff Douthit, who runs Credit Suisse’s business-services coverage group, will join Goldman as a partner in the same role, according to people familiar with the matter. His deputy, Ali Azim, will join as a managing director.
What gives? Did Douthit save the life of an existing partner? Was he born with a mysterious birthmark that grants him instant access to the spoils of partnerdom? Did he employ some form of dark arts? No, apparently Lloyd is just short on talent:
Goldman rarely hires someone from outside the firm at the rank of partner. But executives and recruiters say the firm is looking to hire in senior positions—even to dangle a coveted slot in its partnership—as it fills out weak spots within the investment-banking division.
It's probably more important for Goldman to have a top-tier corporate I-banking unit than a pristine partnership system (last year another Credit Suisse refugee, Sarah-Marie Martin, also joined as partner). And Douthit is obviously a perfectly qualified guy. But he shouldn't be surprised if he's greeted at some point by a gang of disgrunted MDs holding pillowcases full of bar soap.