Harvey Schwartz has joined a growing list of candidates who could end up as Goldman Sachs’ next chief executive officer. Schwartz is currently Goldman’s chief financial officer, a position he has held at the company for less than a year. Still, the market grapevine states Schwartz is a strong candidate to replace Lloyd C. Blankein, who has been CEO and Chairman of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. since 2006, and a director since 2003. During Blankfein’s tenure, Goldman Sachs has seen the highest profits in its history, but it has also since its biggest losses since going public in 1999.
A lot of Schwartz’s potential leadership is inspired by what insiders believe is going to be Goldman’s exemplary fourth quarter earnings under Schwartz’s guidance. Schwartz has been with Goldman close to 17 years. He was promoted to managing director his second year with Goldman and became a partner three years later. He is considered affable, smart and transparent in his dealings, promoting a positive image within and outside of the company.
With his current responsibilities at the company, Schwartz has designed a reputation as more than an expert at crunching numbers. Schwartz has managed to adeptly navigate one of the company’s most visible roles and administer management for both the technology and risk management units, known internally as The Federation. One Goldman executive reveals these attributes make Schwartz the man behind over half the firm’s assets.
Schwartz’s positive impact on Goldman’s upcoming quarter earnings is timely. The previous quarter saw Goldman’s support of certain usually strong assets go south. The trading of bonds, currency securities and other fixed income products saw an unexpected revenue fall of 48 percent. The company ended up reporting revenue totals of $1.29 billion in that third quarter, compared to a year earlier number of $2.49 billion.
Besides Schwartz, others rumored in the running for becoming Goldman’s new CEO include current president and chief operating officer Gary Cohn; Goldman’s Latin America head Stephen Scherr; David Soloman, a co-head of the company’s investment bank; and Michael “Woody” Sherwood, overseer of Goldman’s European branch.
Though the other candidates have been fairly mum about replacing still standing CEO Blankein, Cohn – Goldman’s current number two man – has been quite vocal about his desire to be number one. Some sources intimate that the lesser known Scherr has the advantage since he’s close to Blankein (but so are Schwartz and Cohn). Scherr has over two decades with Goldman, holding numerous positions, including in the financial institution group and acting chief operating officer in the telecommunications media and technology group. Outside of his Latin American responsibilities, Scherr also manages debt and equity financing.
Yet, since his name has popped up, Schwartz is being given high marks for the promotion. So far the executive has made no public statement about the speculation. A Goldman spokesperson declined to comment on any of the speculation. Who do you bet for the seat?