Risk & Compliance

Goldman CFO in Running to Head Wall Street Giant

Harvey Schwartz, who succeeded David Viniar just last year, “has surprised to the upside” since becoming finance chief at the Wall Street bank.
Vincent RyanJanuary 14, 2014

Although Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein shows no signs of relinquishing his post anytime soon, there is always much discussion about who will succeed him. The latest reports say CFO Harvey Schwartz, appointed just last year, is on the short list. Schwartz has headed Goldman’s securities and trading unit. He started his Goldman career in 1997 at commodities unit J. Aron & Co., the same unit Blankfein came out of. And Schwartz  helped create Goldman’s accelerated share repurchase (ASR) product, a method for client companies to repurchase shares of their stock.

After being a behind-the-scenes guy for many years, as CFO “[Schwartz’s] acumen around the bank’s bread-and-butter fixed-income business and demeanor — which some have described as smart, transparent, and affable — have earned him notice outside the firm,” according to Quartz. He also has a smart approach to dealing with increased financial regulation, according to John Rogers, G0ldman’s chief of staff: “be sympathetic to [regulators], who are overwhelmed by the enormity of their rulemaking task; keep in mind the objectives of global regulatory reform; portray yourself to regulators as a helpful educator and never overreact,” Rogers told Reuters last year.

As Goldman CFO, Schwartz already oversees nearly half of the bank, and is responsible for information technology and risk management.

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Still, Schwartz is not a shoe-in. He has not as seasoned as Viniar was, Brand Hintz of Sanford Bernstein told Quartz, who jokingly added that “he still hasn’t mastered the art of saying nothing like [Viniar].”

Stephen Scherr, head of Latin America for the firm, is also being mentioned inside and outside the firm as a strong CEO candidate. COO Gary Cohn is also reportedly in the running and has publicly expressed his desire to take over the position.

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