The game of thrones at Goldman Sachs just ended with a whimper.
After sleeping off Friday's Lloyd Blankfein retirement bombshell drama that ended with El Lloyd himself taking to Twitter to deny reports that he would step down at the end of this year, Goldmanites started this week with another piece of executive news. Here is the email that Goldman rank and file received this morning
After 20 years of distinguished service, Harvey M. Schwartz, president and co-chief operating officer, has decided to retire from Goldman Sachs effective April 20. I am pleased that Harvey will become a senior director at that time. Harvey has served in his current role since January 2017. Prior to that, he served for four years as chief financial officer, where he oversaw our most critical financial and risk management processes.
And just like that, the knife-wielding blackbelt underdog is out of the race to become Lloyd's successor as King of 200 West Street. Harvey Schwartz's apparent retirement also leaves David "DJ D-Sol" Solomon as the clear heir apparent. To see that Schwartz's announcement feels sudden would be a massive understatement. On Friday, the betting line favored him to be the winner in Goldman's succession battle, and now...he's gone.
Obviously, Friday's rumor mill shook some things loose at 200 West Street. The Times is now reporting that in the midst of all the gossiping, Schwartz was informed that Solomon was the board's choice to replace Lloyd and then decided that it was time to head graciously for the exits. But this is where we have to ask ourselves a real "Chicken versus Egg" question; Did the Lloyd retirement rumors cause this shakeout, or did this shakeout cause the Lloyd rumors?
If Solomon was known to have the votes on Friday, and if Harvey was obviously composing his retirement announcement (something that Goldman would almost certainly prefer to disclose on a Friday afternoon rather than a Monday morning) why did Lloyd spend Friday afternoon tweeting denials of an hours-old item in the WSJ? We're just spitballing here, but it feels like the Journal's source on Lloyd came from very close to Solomon or Schwartz.
A pissed-off Harvey might have been eager to nudge Lloyd towards the door after being passed over. And Solomon might be feeling antsy now that his path to power is unimpeded by the huge frame of "Gary Cohn 2.0." He might have felt even more of a need to get this shit taken care of what with "Gary Cohn 1.0" suddenly looking for work.
Now, if you ask which theory we believe, our answer is neither. This is obviously all the work of Marty Chavez, who is playing 4D chess and greasing the wheels of his Machiavellian plan to inevitably take over from Lloyd by the end of summer.
You'll see...you'll all see!!!