If you work for Goldman Sachs in a sales capacity and intend to continue doing so come 2020, you need to fast familiarize yourself with a brilliant female VP who is coming for your job: Siri Scanlon Appel. Scanlon Appel is on a mission, and if she succeeds Goldman’s salesforce could go some of the way of its equity traders, whose numbers have reportedly declined from 600 in 2000 to just two today.
Scanlon Appel has worked for Goldman since 2006, when she joined its portfolio trading division after graduating from Georgetown University. Between 2014 and 2016, she completed a Columbia MBA alongside her Goldman day job. That MBA is now complete, allowing Scanlon Appel to focus fully on the task at hand at GS: developing and commercializing Goldman’s Marquee product and selling it to clients.
Officially, Scanlon Appel’s role is ‘Marquee head of sales and client development.’ This matters, because Marquee is the big strategic initiative at Goldman Sachs right now. It’s is the contentious product-baby of Marty Chavez, Goldman’s current CIO who’s becoming CFO as of April 2017. Under Marquee, Goldman is making its previously highly guarded SecDB risk exposure system directly available to clients. As head of Marquee sales and client development, it’s up to Scanlon to encourage clients to engage with SecDB directly – rather than relying upon the current army of Goldman salespeople to parse its findings for them.
Goldman hasn’t said as much, but if Marquee takes off as planned, it seems likely that quite a few of Goldman’s current salespeople could be surplus to requirement. Most banks are already looking to pare back their sales desks this year by refocusing their attention on their most profitable clients – Barclays, for example, is telling 7,000 of its marginal clients to find another broker to do business with. It’s no coincidence that many of the senior bankers to leave Goldman in 2016 were salespeople.
Scanlon Appel wasn’t made MD in the most recent round of promotions last November – but if she succeeds, she’ll almost certainly be elevated by Chavez in 2018. Scanlon Appel is well-connected both inside and outside the firm: her husband Alexander Appel is a senior associate at the Carlyle Group (along with Lloyd Blankfein’s son, Alex). You can see her at New York social events here.