By Liz Hoffman
Gregg Lemkau, one of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s top deal makers, is leaving to run the investment firm started by technology tycoon Michael Dell.
The move, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, turned heads inside the firm and across the industry. Mr Lemkau ran one of Goldman's most profitable divisions after a long career putting together technology and media mergers, and was seen as a potential contender to be chief executive of the firm.
He will be chief executive of MSD Partners, which manages about $15 billion including some of Mr. Dell's fortune and has plans to grow.
The 51-year-old joined Goldman in 1992 and spent his career as a counselor to big technology and media companies including Twitter Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. He was named in 2013 a co-head of its merger business and promoted again in 2017 to co-run its investment-banking arm, which includes M&A, IPOs and lending deals. A former Dartmouth soccer goalie, he remains a sports nut -- he and Goldman's president, John Waldron, share a box at Fenway Park -- and is almost impossibly well-liked across a sharp-elbowed Wall Street.
Though he had been seen as a potential candidate to be CEO, the bid was a long-shot one -- current CEO David Solomon is just two years into the job -- and Mr. Lemkau has flirted with jobs in private equity over the years. He informed Mr. Solomon of his decision over the summer, according to people familiar with the matter, and stayed on through Goldman's selection of new partners, who were named last week.
He knows Mr. Dell well, having advised on a decade's worth of deals that took his eponymous computer company, merged it with rival EMC Corp. in what was the largest tech merger ever, and returned it to the public markets two years ago.
MSD Partners was founded in 2009 with some of Mr. Dell's computer fortune. The firm has steered clear of technology deals, instead investing mainly in credit and real estate, including the Four Seasons in Hawaii that neighbors Mr. Lemkau's vacation home.
He will be succeded by Jim Esposito, a former investment banker who in 2018 was tapped to help turn around Goldman's trading division. Mr. Esposito will remain, for now, based in London; his co-head, Dan Dees, is based in California.
Mr. Lemkau's departure means that for the first time in years Goldman doesn't have an M&A guru running its investment bank. And Mr. Esposito's shift leaves its trading arm without a client-sales specialist at its top, at a time when Goldman is leaning into customer service and sanding down the rougher edges of its trading division.
Write to Liz Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires