Another senior Goldman Sachs executive is leaving — and colleagues are vexed

Yet another senior executive is leaving Goldman Sachs — and, of course, his co-workers are once again putting the exit under a microscope.

Michael Swell, head of global fixed-income portfolio management at the Wall Street giant’s asset management division, is set to retire at the end of the year, according to a memo from late last month that was obtained by The Post.

That’s despite Swell being just 55 years old, and getting high marks during his 14-year tenure (He made partner in 2012 after joining the firm in 2007). Last week, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, also known as GSAM, reported a record quarter, raking in $5.13 billion in net revenue.

Swell “built trusted relationships with our clients and our colleagues in distribution, and developed investment products and business lines that will continue to grow and thrive on our platform,” GSAM’s co-head Julian Salisbury wrote in a farewell memo. “Mike has consistently embodied our firm’s core values and has been dedicated to our people’s professional development.”

Goldman Sachs headquarters in Lower Manhattan
Goldman Sachs has its headquarters in Lower Manhattan, at 200 West St.
Corbis via Getty Images

The problem? Possibly that Swell was making a lot of money. Goldman’s culture is “game of survival,” particularly for partners who make north of a million dollars a year — and particularly since David Solomon took over as chief executive, sources say.

“People are furious,” according to one insider.

“The culture is up and out. Most partners wouldn’t leave but if [they’re] not continuing to progress, [the] firm sometimes pushes,” another person familiar with the bank’s thinking told The Post.

A Goldman spokesperson confirmed Swell’s departure but declined to comment further. Swell declined to comment beyond confirming his age.

GSAM has been hit with a rash of exits of late. Earlier this month, Eric Lane, co-head of the entire division, left for Tiger Global Management and Paget MacColl, head of the Americas institutional client business, left for Blackstone. In December, Sheila Patel announced she was retiring as GSAM’s chairman. In October, Gary Chropuvka, Co-Head of Quantitative Investment Strategies left for WorldQuant. In March 2020, portfolio manager Mark Van Wyk retired.

Goldman Sachs headquarters in Lower Manhattan with the tower reaching high above the skyline
Those Goldman Sachs executives who make more than $1 million a year might need to watch their backs, sources say.
Corbis via Getty Images

Adding insult to injury, some insiders are skeptical whether Swell’s replacement, Whitney Watson, has the right experience. She has spent her 15 years at the firm focused on portfolio construction and risk — a job that is far more technical and completely different from portfolio management, which is focused on moving money and meeting clients.

“It would be like if someone in tech thought they could take over a job writing copy,” a source told The Post. “And was then promoted to be head of copy writing.”

Watson couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on Monday.


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