Goldman Sachs CEO Stephanie Cohen resigns

Stephanie Cohen, the investment banking star who was once thought to be a candidate to become Goldman Sachs' first female CEO, announced Monday that she will leave her post after 25 years at the firm, joining the departure of women on beleaguered Wall Street. Giant in recent months.

Cohen, who was hired by Goldman Sachs in 1999 and named a partner in 2014, will leave her position as head of the bank's platform solutions division to take on the role of chief strategist at Cloudfare, a San Francisco-based technology company.

The departure of Cohen, who was first This was reported by the Wall Street Journalcontradicts stated demands 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 achieved the rank of senior partner 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 cemented last May when the bank agreed to pay $215 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed more than a decade ago by female employees who alleged gender-based pay discrimination as well as sexual harassment.

The newspaper reported that Solomon is scheduled to host several female partners for dinner on Monday, during which they are expected to discuss the scarcity of females at the bank's senior levels.

Last week, the magazine published the results of an analysis indicating that about two-thirds of women who became partners by the end of 2018 no longer worked at the company.

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

Beth Hammack, one of Goldman's most prolific traders during her three decades at the bank, was recently passed over for the CFO position, which went to Dennis Coleman.

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

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

Cohen took a leave of absence in June. Reuters

Of Goldman's eight executives, only two are women, although both positions belong to non-revenue-generating departments (legal and accounting).

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

At the time, a Goldman Sachs spokesman dismissed suggestions that Cohen's leave would be permanent, telling the Washington Post: “That is 100% untrue.”

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

“She will go back to Goldman Sachs,” Fratto added. “To suggest anything else is completely inaccurate and based on speculation from people who are not in a position to know.”


The company changed its tune on Monday.

In a note distributed to employees, Solomon wrote: “Please join me in thanking Stephanie for her outstanding contributions to the company, our customers, and our employees, and in wishing her and her family the best in the years ahead.”

A source familiar with the situation told The Washington 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 selected to co-head the consumer and wealth management unit – one of the few women to lead a key department within the bank.

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But Goldman Sachs's foray into consumer banking, which included a partnership with Apple as well as the ill-fated acquisition of fintech company GreenSky, proved disastrous.

While Cohen was on leave, Goldman sold GreenSky, resulting in a significant writedown. Goldman and Apple also announced plans to spin off their credit card joint venture.

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

Cohen said Business Insider On Monday, while on vacation, she found herself gravitating toward a career in technology.

“I just got to this place, and 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 see her move to Utah, according to Business Insider.

Cohen is no stranger to Utah. During the coronavirus pandemic, she self-isolated in the area after developing a long-term case of coronavirus.

Solomon praised Cohen for “demonstrating a deep commitment to our culture and people, and investing significant time in mentoring and coaching our teams at all levels and geographies.”

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