Exclusive-Goldman shrinks executive committee, moves admin officer to banking, markets -memo

By Saeed Azhar

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Goldman Sachs appointed Chief Administrative Officer Ericka Leslie head of operations for global banking and markets, its largest division, according to a memo seen by Reuters.

The move reduces the bank’s number of executive officers to eight, for now, and leaves just two women in the group.

Leslie’s previous duties will be divided among other executives, people familiar with the matter said.

“Ericka is moving into one of the biggest and most important businesses,” a company spokesperson told Reuters.

The two women who remain among the executive officers are Chief Accounting officer Sheara Fredman and Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler. The group is led by CEO David Solomon and includes John Waldron, the bank’s president, and Denis Coleman, its finance chief.

Despite efforts to diversify the management of Wall Street firms, men vastly outnumber women in the top ranks. Citigroup’s Jane Fraser is the only woman CEO among the largest U.S. banks, and the short list of candidates for Morgan Stanley’s next CEO does not include any women.

“Unfortunately, Wall Street boards and executives have not done enough to attract and retain women at banks,” said Mayra Rodriguez Valladares, a financial risk consultant at MRV Associates who trains bankers and regulators.

“Moreover, they have not been able to mentor them well enough to reach the C-suite.”

Leslie, who is also co-chair of the partnership committee, joined Goldman as an associate in 1996 and became a partner in 2012. The executive has held various leadership roles, including head of technology for currencies and commodities, and operations for the securities division, according to the Goldman memos.

Leslie is replacing Will Bousquette, who has been appointed chief operating officer of the asset and wealth management division, according to another memo by Marc Nachmann, who leads the unit.

“We’ve identified growth opportunities and built an organizational structure that will allow us to take advantage of them,” Nachmann wrote.

The memos did not indicate when the changes would take effect.

Bousquette, who joined the firm in 1998 and became a partner in 2014, succeeds Laurence Stein, a 27-year Goldman veteran who plans to retire at the end of the year, the memos said.

Goldman Sachs has made a raft of changes since it divided its business into three units last year and scaled back ambitions for its consumer business, which has lost $3 billion in the last three years.

It has also been refocusing its wealth business on the super rich, recently striking a deal to sell part of its wealth unit to an independent manager.

The Wall Street giant has seen a number of high-profile departures in recent months, including Julian Salisbury, chief investment officer of asset and wealth management, who is joining investment firm Sixth Street.

The partner departures are “absolutely typical” and allow the bank to make room for new leaders, Solomon told CNBC in an interview last week. More than 400 people comprise its elite partner ranks.

“If the partnership’s a certain size and we want to make a certain number of partners, we have to create that amount of movement over the course of every two-year period,” he said.

Goldman is also gearing up for another round of job cuts for employees who are seen to be underperformers, which could come in October, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters last week, confirming a report in the Financial Times.

The bank laid off about 3,200 people earlier this year in its biggest headcount reduction since the 2008 financial crisis.

(Reporting by Saeed Azhar; editing by Lananh Nguyen, Megan Davies and Jason Neely)