Jim Esposito: Why David Solomon's funny former friend is leaving Goldman Sachs
Jim Esposito, AKA 'Espo' is leaving Goldman Sachs.
The Wall Street reported today that Esposito will be retiring from Goldman Sachs aged 56, 28 years after he joined as an emerging markets debt salesman in New York.
Esposito was latterly one of three co-heads of the global banking and markets team. In his absence, there will only be two: Dan Dees and Ashok Varadhan.
The WSJ suggests Esposito's exit is the result of thwarted ambition: he wanted to be CEO, or maybe just president of Goldman Sachs, roles held by David Solomon and John Waldron respectively.
Solomon might miss Esposito. In the memo announcing Esposito's exit, he praised his former colleague for his great sense of humor. By comparison, Waldron is known for being a more serious animal who's disinclined to take career risks and likes hanging out eating sandwiches with his six children.
As well as being fun, Espo, by comparison, appears to have been a player. When we wrote about Esposito six years ago, sources at the bank said he was both ambitious and "slippery." He's an, "excellent politician," said one. At the time, Espo was also said to be one of David Solomon's inner circle and the Goldman markets person Solomon was most comfortable with. Esposito was similarly close to ex-CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
With Solomon lambasted over the past year for some of the bank's strategic failures and Lloyd Blankfein allegedly unhappy about Goldman's share price, Solomon's partiality for the ambitious Esposito may have waned. It can't have helped that Espo was against Goldman's consumer banking strategy, and reportedly contributed to the bank's decision to pull back from consumer lending and deposit-taking. His disappearance, intentional or otherwise, helpfully opens a slot on Goldman's management committee which Solomon can fill with someone else instead.
Former colleagues of Esposito said his exit will be felt in the sales team in particular. "Jim is a legend, he transformed the perception of GS from being a counterparty to a true partner. He has a deep understanding of the client experience," said one.
All that remains now is to see where he turns up next. Citadel Securities is, naturally, hiring.
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