In a recently published note, Wells Fargo banking analyst Mike Mayo provided a strong vote of confidence for Goldman Sachs’ CEO, David Solomon, stating that the leader "is not going anywhere anytime soon." This followed a meeting with Adebayo Ogunlesi, Goldman Sachs’ lead director, who appeared to be firmly supportive of Solomon’s continued tenure. Solomon has been the subject of public scrutiny following the firm’s lowest quarterly profits in three years, alongside media criticism of his leadership style and reports of internal unrest.
Despite the aforementioned challenges, the bank is navigating a strategic retreat from consumer lending, a move that has proven costly, while also weathering a stagnant period in dealmaking. However, there are indications that the deal drought may be ending, with Goldman Sachs acting as one of the lead bankers in a new wave of initial public offerings, including those from chipmaker ARM and e-commerce grocery company Instacart. Ogunlesi expressed his belief that the bank is on track with its strategy to deliver mid-teens returns over the medium term, and commended Solomon for his strategic acumen and execution.
Goldman Sachs CEO Strategy Receives Support from Lead Director
Goldman Sachs’ lead director, Adebayo Ogunlesi, displays strong support for CEO David Solomon despite recent public scrutiny over the firm’s lowest quarterly profits in three years. During a meeting with Wells Fargo banking analyst Mike Mayo, Ogunlesi reiterated his approval and dismissed any media-induced speculations about Solomon’s leadership.
CEO Solomon’s Tenure
Mayo’s note following the meeting indicates that Solomon, who has faced criticism over his leadership style, job cuts, and reports of partner unrest, is expected to continue in his role for at least the medium term. Despite the challenges, Mayo cites Ogunlesi’s confidence in Solomon’s performance, stating that his actions are in line with those of executives at other large corporations and banks.
Refocusing and New Opportunities
Under Solomon’s leadership, Goldman Sachs is navigating a complicated retreat from an expensive venture into consumer lending while also dealing with a lackluster period for dealmaking. However, this period appears to be ending with Goldman Sachs taking the lead in a series of new initial public offerings, including those from chipmaker ARM and grocery e-commerce company Instacart.
Performance and Future Outlook
Ogunlesi expressed that Goldman Sachs is on track with its strategy to deliver mid-teens returns over the medium term, citing Solomon’s successful strategy execution and superior results compared to peers. Goldman Sachs’ stock, which has recovered in September and remained flat this year, has outperformed Bank of America and Citigroup while trailing Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase.
The Goldman Sachs Talent Pipeline
Addressing partner turnover at Goldman Sachs, Ogunlesi emphasized the strength of the company’s talent pipeline, pointing out that the firm has identified 200 future leaders and received 236,000 applicants for last summer’s internship program. This resulted in 2,600 full-time hires in 2023, making Goldman Sachs a harder institution to get into than Harvard, according to Mayo.
While Goldman Sachs faced challenges under Solomon’s leadership, the support from its lead director and promising signs of recovery show a positive outlook. The company’s solid talent pipeline and potential return to deal-making further ensure its long-term stability. However, the execution of their strategies will be crucial in overcoming current issues and ensuring future success.