Last week, after a ton of speculation that Lloyd Blankfein had done his dash as Goldman’s top dog, we broke the news that the firm’s top UK banker, Michael Sherwood, would replace COO Gary Cohn as Chairman of the vaunted Partnership Committee.
The Partnership Committee, together with the Management Committee, forms the governance structure of the bank. They also select who gets elevated to the elite partner pool.
We don’t know why the change was made. One option, we thought, is that perhaps it was a move to shed some of Cohn’s non-core responsibilities in the lead-up to succession? Or maybe Goldman is grooming Sherwood for the top? .
And we’re told that Goldman staff were asking the same questions.
The email they were sent about Sherwood’s promotion wasn’t too enlightening, but more specifically there’s been buzz around why Sherwood was the one promoted, and why Cohn would need to be uprooted from the Chairmanship.
The Goldman tipster tells us that the floor was buzzing with questions about the swap, since no-one could tell immediately why the move was made. Especially in light of the fact, that both bankers and traders have heard nothing internally about a possible Blankfein exit — the consensus, at least among the troops, is he’s not going anywhere.
We did also hear that the promotion was, quite simply, a reward — a thank you to Sherwood for his work and service (Sherwood is a veteran of the firm, having joined in 1986, and we were told by a source the areas over which he reigns have been growth areas for the bank).
In addition to being Vice-Chairman, Sherwood is co-CEO of Goldman Sachs International, a role he’s had since 2005. Prior to that, he was global co-head of the securities unit, and head of the Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Division in Europe. He’s said to be a “protégé of Blankfein’s.”