David Solomon defends his leadership on CNBC
David Solomon took to cable news network CNBC to defend his leadership of Goldman Sachs.
The wide-ranging interview follows unrest at the highest levels, as Insider’s Dakin Campbell has reported.
Solomon attributed the complaints to lower bonuses and strategic changes to the operation.
David Solomon defended his leadership of Goldman Sachs in an interview with CNBC on Thursday, attributing complaints about his leadership to lower bonuses and operational changes.
“It’s not fun,” he said when CNBC’s David Faber asked him about the “avalanche” of bad press. “I don’t recognize the caricature that is painted of me,” he said.
The appearance follows a string of new stories questioning his leadership, including a New York magazine article published last month titled “Is David Solomon Too Big a Jerk to Run Goldman Sachs?” Insider’s Dakin Campbell has also chronicled complaints by high-ranking Goldman partners, some of whom debated going to the board of directors earlier this year.
Solomon called the complaints “noise” created by lower 2022 bonuses and changes in operations, including consolidation in the bank’s asset management division. He said performance at Goldman has been strong and that he hasn’t heard these complaints reflected in his conversations with colleagues or shareholders.
“I understand why this is interesting and attractive to the media, but it’s not what the people of Goldman Sachs are focused on,” he said.
Asked about his future as a record-spinning DJ, which has also been a focus of some of the criticisms, Solomon replied: “I’m focused on Goldman Sachs.”
Since taking over as CEO in 2018, Solomon has made a lot of changes, including three reorganizations. Dozens of senior executives have left in the process, but Solomon said the departures are par for the course.
“What matters is performance and we’ve done a lot in five years,” he said. “We’re focused on running the firm.”
Last year, Solomon was forced to walk back his consumer banking ambitions amid criticisms that it was losing billions, leading to yet another reorganization. Since then, the bank reported a 58% drop in profit, its worst earnings in years, although Solomon explained the loss as a bump in the road as the bank transitions to a more diversified bank, sending the stock higher.
The stock is up about 37% over the last five years. Solomon took over as CEO from Lloyd Blankfein in 2018.