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Goldman’s Investment Chief Exits After Changes Roil Key Unit

Goldman’s Investment Chief Exits After Changes Roil Key Unit
Breaks from the playbook.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. lost Julian Salisbury to a smaller asset manager after a series of changes in a $2.7 trillion unit that it has billed as key to propping up the stock.

Salisbury, chief investment officer of Goldman’s asset- and wealth-management division, is leaving to join Sixth Street Partners as co-chief investment officer. The move follows leadership churn and multiple reorganizations in Goldman’s asset-management business in recent years.

The 51-year-old executive is the latest high-profile departure from Goldman’s top ranks and another blow for Chief Executive Officer David Solomon after turnover and strategic missteps have raised questions about the firm’s leadership.

Early in Solomon’s tenure, Salisbury was plucked out of a lucrative group that bet the firm’s own money and asked to help run a revamped merchant bank. Then, when Goldman cleaved its wealth business from the money-management arm, it gave Salisbury a bigger remit. The move put the focus on an investor known for his money-making bets but with little experience running a large unit.

To address that, he was given a co-head in Luke Sarsfield last year, only for both of them to lose that perch after Goldman’s management reversed course again. Sarsfield has also left the bank.

Solomon, who had forged ahead with plans to separate the asset-management and wealth business despite skepticism within the bank, cobbled those two groups back together in another organizational revamp in October.

Goldman carved out a CIO job for Salisbury in its asset- and wealth-management business. At the time, top Goldman leaders said Salisbury’s new post was created to highlight the importance of the business and not an effort to sideline the executive, though the move was seen by some as a demotion.

Among other reversals, Goldman has been dismantling its consumer business this year after initially tapping Stephanie Cohen, a fast-rising executive, to spearhead that initiative. Cohen has taken a leave from the bank as it tries to trim down the unit it had created for her to run in October.

Salisbury joins several former Goldman partners who have moved to Sixth Street in recent years, including Martin Chavez, a vice chairman who was previously Goldman’s chief financial officer.

Salisbury, who has more than 25 years of experience in the industry, will start at the investment firm early next year, Sixth Street said in a statement Friday.

“We first got to know each other in 2002 while working on an investment in a Swiss cable company, and since then my partners and I have cheered Julian on as he has become one of the industry’s best investors and business leaders,” Sixth Street Chief Executive Officer Alan Waxman said in the statement.

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