Morning Coffee: David Solomon's sad secret at Goldman Sachs. Persuading London bankers to move to Paris

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David Solomon Goldman Sachs

Yesterday was David Solomon's first day as CEO of Goldman Sachs. Seven months after he first discovered his fate, Lloyd Blankfein stepped aside and into his fancy new office with a view over the Hudson River, and the Solomon era began.

For Solomon, it looks like the culmination of years of hard work. A long profile of the man in Vanity Fair, written by former Lazard banker William Cohan describes Solomon as an, 'ambitious middle class striver' who learned his work ethic from Michael Milken - who began meetings at 3am, his time. Cohan says Solomon is the 'right man at the right time' for Goldman: a relationship-builder who believes in hard work, but also in allowing time to, '"live.. life and pursue other interests and invest in...families."

For this reason, it's particularly sad that Solomon's own family fractured a few years ago. Cohan says that Solomon's wife - Mary - whom he married aged 27 in 1989 - left him suddenly a few years ago and that it was one of the hardest things he ever had to deal with. “It’s not lost on me that a big part of the reason I’m here is the support she gave me over the 28 years we were together,” Solomon tells Cohan, adding that they are still friends.

As Solomon embarks on his new life as Goldman CEO, he will therefore do so as a presumably single man. He's not the only bank CEO to experience marital difficulties - current Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam left his wife and got together with a 35 year-old blonde Londoner in 2015, while former Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan was involved in an acrimonious divorce battle.

Running Goldman Sachs can be emotionally and mentally grueling though. Cohan's article also takes time to detail what it claims was the mental deterioration of Harvey Schwartz, the other contender for the CEO position. Faced with the prospect of becoming CEO, Schwartz became “monomaniacal” and uncomfortable with “surrendering control,” says Cohan, citing an unnamed 'Goldman executive.' He became a "control freak" who believed that other people in Goldman had "conspired against" him becoming CEO.

Schwartz, who has since disappeared from view declined to comment on the criticisms. Solomon, however, whose personal brand is easy-going steely determination ("When I get interested in something, I try to do it at a very, very high level. I like accomplishing thing.”) seems unlikely to succumb to stress-induced neuroses. Even so, it's sad that his wife of nearly three decades won't be with him at the top.

Separately, amidst suggestions that Bank of America's London bankers are unhappy with the prospect of moving to Paris and are choosing to swap banks rather than succumb, it seems the bank has put together a leaflet trying to sell the joys of the City of Lights. Titled, "Reasons to live and work in Paris," Business Insider says the leaflet touts the fine wines and access to the "spectacular ski slopes of the Alps and Pyrenees and the beaches of the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts that are on offer in the French city. If BofA can persuade its people to go there, they might never want to come back.

Meanwhile:

The artistry of Andrea Orcel: “He is the most persuasive man I’ve ever worked for....He will try everything — charming you and then screaming. If that doesn’t work, he will put his head in his hands, and slowly look up at you with puppy dog eyes. It’s hard to resist.” (Financial News) 

Oswald Grubel has no mercy for Kweku Adoboli: “He got a trial and it’s very clear from the trial that he defrauded the bank on purpose and with intelligence. So he has to face the consequences.” (The Times)

Once male workers have got used to bonuses they slack off if they don't get them. Women work just as hard either way. (Telegraph)  

The CFO of Cambridge University is a former global co-head of Deutsche Bank's restructuring advisory group and senior banker at Lehman Brothers. He's busy borrowing money on the bond markets. (FT Alphaville) 

Sberbank's London office was crippled by a £3.2m ($4.2m) payout to a saleswoman who was a victim of harassment, victimization and discrimination, but it just received a big cash injection from its Russian parent.  (Intellinews) 

'Banker' who lost his job to a younger woman receives £80k ($104k) in compensation. 'In the drawer he found a “target chart” from Mr Docherty detailing redundancies and how she would take his job.' (Daily Express) 

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available.

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