Goldman Sachs employees received word today that Richard J. Gnodde is the new co-head of investment banking with David Solomon and John Weinberg.
Meanwhile, Gordon Dyal, global head of M&A, will join Christopher Cole as co-chairman of investment banking.
Born in South Africa, the 51-year-old Gnodde joined Goldman back in 1987 and was critical to building the firm’s European M&A business.
He rose through the ranks to head up the bank’s operations in the UK, and had come to “prominence advising… Lakshmi Mittal in his £17 billion bid for the European producer Arcelor,” according to the Times.
Those who know him say he is “very amiable, very driven, very Goldmans.” He’s also 6-foot-4 and was rumoured to be in the South African secret service — the rumours are apparently untrue, but he did serve in the Navy as part of his national service.
“Considered a born diplomat among those who know him,” Gnodde runs Goldman International with Michael Sherwood, who also recently received a promotion to Chairman of the bank’s Partnership Committee (he replaced COO Gary Cohn in that role).
According to a profile in the Times, Sherwood and Gnodde “could not be more different”:
“Woodie”, as [Sherwood] is known, is a rambunctious, aggressive alpha male, recognisably the product of the trading floor.
Mr Gnodde, who is less high profile and noticeably lacks a chummy nickname, affectionate or otherwise, is tall, intellectual, cool, poised and charming. “The still, calm, collected, thoughtful centre,” is how one Goldman staffer describes him. He dec-lined to say which of these attributes could also be assigned to “Woodie”.
Gnodde has some very powerful friends, from billionaire and steel titan Lakshmi Mittal to Mervyn King to former BP chairman Lord Browne of Madingley.
He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Cape Town and a Master’s in Law from Cambridge. He’s married with three children.
Richard was appointed co-head of the firm’s Investment Banking Division in Japan in 1997, helping Goldman Sachs achieve its preeminent position in the Japanese investment banking market.
He became president of Goldman Sachs (Singapore) Pte. and co-head of Investment Banking in Asia in 1999, before moving to Hong Kong that same year to become President of Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC. Richard played a leading role in expanding the firm’s overall Asian footprint including securing access to China’s securities markets. In January 2005, Richard returned to London as vice chairman, and in July 2006 assumed his current position.