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    HomeBusinessGoldman Sachs executive Stephanie Cohen resigns

    Goldman Sachs executive Stephanie Cohen resigns

    Stephanie Cohen, an investment banking star who was once thought to be a candidate to become the first female CEO of Goldman Sachs, announced Monday she is leaving after a 25-year career at the firm – joining an exodus of women at the beleaguered Wall Street giant in recent months.

    Cohen, who was hired by Goldman Sachs in 1999 and was named partner in 2014, will leave her post as head of the bank’s Platform Solutions department to take up the chief strategist position at Cloudfare, a San Francisco-based tech firm.

    Cohen’s departure, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, flies in the face of professed claims by Goldman CEO David Solomon to promote more women to senior positions at the bank.

    Cohen, who joined the bank as an analyst in 1999 and was given the prestigious partner rank in 2014, was most recently in charge of the bank’s consumer platforms, an internal memo showed. REUTERS

    Goldman’s reputation as a boys club was further reinforced last May when the bank agreed to pay $215 million to settle a class action lawsuit filed more than a decade ago by female staffers who alleged gender-based pay discrimination as well as sexual harassment.

    Solomon is scheduled to host several women partners for a dinner on Monday during which it is expected that they will discuss the dearth of females at the bank’s upper echelons, the Journal reported.

    Last week, the Journal published findings of an analysis which indicated that around two-thirds of women who made partner by the end of 2018 were no longer with the firm.

    By comparison, just under half of men who made partner at around the same time have since left Goldman, according to the analysis.

    Beth Hammack, one of Goldman’s most prolific traders in her three decades at the bank, was recently passed over for the chief financial officer position, which went to Denis Coleman.

    Last year, Dina Powell McCormick, the former Trump administration official and veteran executive at Goldman Sachs, left the firm to help run BDT & MSD Partners, a merchant bank founded by two other ex-Goldman stars Byron Trott and Gregg Lemkau.

    None of the executives who are considered credible candidates to one day succeed Solomon are women.

    Cohen had taken a leave of absence in June. Reuters

    Of the eight executive officers at Goldman, just two are women, though both of those positions are in nonrevenue generating divisions (legal and accounting).

    In June, The Post reported that Cohen, 46, was taking a leave of absence and that it was unclear whether she would be returning to Goldman.

    At the time, a Goldman spokesperson dismissed suggestions that Cohen’s leave would be permanent, telling The Post: “This is 100% untrue.”

    Tony Fratto, Goldman’s head of communications, told The Post in June that Cohen was “taking some time away from work to focus on her family and Goldman Sachs completely supports her in this decision.”

    “She will be returning to Goldman Sachs,” Fratto added. “To suggest anything else is completely inaccurate and is relying on speculation from people who are in no position to know.”

    REUTERS

    The company changed its tune Monday.

    In a memo circulated to employees, Solomon wrote: “Please join me in thanking Stephanie for her outstanding contributions to the firm, our clients and our people, and in wishing her and her family the very best for the years ahead.”

    A source with knowledge of the situation told The Post that the intention was for Cohen to eventually return to Goldman.

    In 2017, Cohen was promoted to chief strategy officer at Goldman. Three years later, she was picked to co-head the consumer and wealth management unit – one of the few women to lead a major division within the bank.

    But Goldman’s foray into consumer banking, which included a partnership with Apple as well as an ill-fated acquisition of fintech firm GreenSky, proved disastrous.

    During Cohen’s leave, Goldman sold off GreenSky, taking a significant write-down. Goldman and Apple have also announced plans to unwind their joint credit card venture.

    In 2017, Cohen was promoted to chief strategy officer at Goldman. Three years later, she was picked to co-head the consumer and wealth management unit – one of the few women to lead a major division within the bank. Getty Images

    Cohen told Business Insider on Monday that during her sabbatical she found herself gravitating toward a career in tech.

    “I just got to this place where it was, ‘I want to do this for real,’” Cohen told the site. 

    “This is what I want to do. I don’t want technology to be just a part of it; I want it to be what I do.”

    Cohen will serve as Cloudfare’s first chief strategy officer – a role that will have her relocate to Utah, according to Business Insider.

    Cohen is no stranger to Utah. During the coronavirus pandemic, she isolated herself in the area after coming down with a case of long COVID.

    Solomon praised Cohen for having “demonstrated a deep commitment to our culture and our people, investing significant time in mentoring and training our teams across all levels and geographies.”

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