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这位业余DJ正在改造高盛的方方面面,从薪酬到着装

Jen Wieczner 2019年11月24日

上任一年后,高盛的新掌门正在大刀阔斧地破除由来已久的运营方式。

作为从外部公司聘来的高管,苏德巍被视为高盛集团首席执行官的长期人选。图片来源:Photograph by Celeste Sloman for Fortune

五彩纸屑在舞池上空盘旋。一队身穿紧身衣的侍者依次走到中央,其中一位拿着一瓶在黑暗中熠熠闪光的唐·朱利奥龙舌兰酒,另一位高举一块写着“D SOL”的广告牌,以表达对苏德巍(David Soloman)的敬意。然后,午夜十二点半,在位于迈阿密枫丹白露酒店地下室的LIV夜总会,高盛集团的首席执行官闪亮登场。苏德巍拿起一对厚实的白色耳机,走到电唱机转盘后面,旋即陶醉在他的音乐DJ世界中。

这是10月的最后一个星期六。为庆祝万圣节,这家位于南海滩的夜店已经改造成为“51区”的模样,洋溢着一股浓浓的世界末日风;进入夜店的人皆是一副天外来客打扮——恶魔角、兔子耳朵、吸血鬼披风,不一而足。(抵达这家夜店时,我在门口报出苏德巍的名字,保镖一脸茫然。“他在这里叫D-Sol?”他点点头,解开了门口的丝绒绳子。)苏德巍身穿黑色T恤衫、白色裤子和一双粉色的低帮匡威鞋,皱着眉头,看上去比较严肃。在他身后的DJ间,两位女士打扮成“便便”表情符号,还特意用几卷厕纸和一个柱塞来装饰她们的服装。在接下来的一个小时,苏德巍将为现场的狂欢者助兴。他将枪炮与玫瑰(Guns N’ Roses)和白色条纹乐队(White Stripes)的经典摇滚乐段与20世纪90年代的嘻哈音乐和舞蹈节拍融合在一起,偶尔还会挥舞拳头。置身于低温雾炮和闪烁激光灯烘托的氛围之下,你可以感受到一股低音脉冲穿过胸腔。苏德巍双手按着旋钮,随音乐节拍舞动。然后,他播放了一首Bingo Players创作的小调,其歌词主要由一段非常厚脸皮的副歌组成:“每个人都想知道我多么不在乎,我多么不在乎。”

鉴于许多人都在质疑华尔街最大牌公司的首席执行官是否应该长时间待在这样一处喧哗之所(凌晨3点,当高盛董事会的其他成员都在睡觉的时候,他还在夜店喝龙舌兰酒),这很难不被解读为一种滑稽的反驳。2017年,苏德巍的夜店DJ身份被《纽约时报》(New York Times)曝光,彼时的他还是两位角逐高盛最高职位的联席总裁之一。在高盛内部,苏德巍向来被视为一位极其专业、进取心很强、对闲聊毫无耐心的管理者。他当时担心,人们不再把他当回事了——错误地把这份兼职等同于某种中年危机。一些顾问建议他终止其DJ生涯。“我想了一会儿,我能这样做吗,我不能做这个吗?” 苏德巍回忆道。他把演出和Spotify音乐播放的收入捐给了致力于戒除毒瘾的慈善机构。(他筹集的资金总额据说达到了六位数。)这些疑虑很快就烟消云散,尤其是在他当时的老板、时任首席执行官劳埃德·贝兰克梵和其他人表态支持之后。“你知道吗,这就是我,没有人会告诉我不要打高尔夫。”苏德巍现在说。“为什么我不能做夜店DJ,就因为我是首席执行官?”

You see the confetti before you see him: It swirls over the dance floor as a parade arrives in his honor—leotard-clad servers bearing a glow-in-the-dark bottle of Don Julio and a billboard that reads “D SOL.” It’s then, at half past midnight, at the LIV nightclub in the basement of Miami’s Fontainebleau hotel, that the chief executive of Goldman Sachs emerges, picks up a chunky pair of white headphones, and steps behind the turntables and into his disc jockey alter ego.

It’s the last Saturday in October, which means it’s Halloween in South Beach, and the club has been made over into an apocalyptic Area 51; the crowd has shown up in a mix of extraterrestrial outfits along with devil horns, bunny ears, and Dracula capes. (When I arrived, I’d given David Solomon’s name at the door, eliciting nothing but a blank look from the bouncer. “D-Sol?” He nodded and opened the velvet rope.) Solomon, brow furrowed, looks comparatively sober in a black T-shirt, white pants, and pink Converse low-top Chuck Taylors. Behind him in the DJ booth, a couple of women appear to be dressed as the poo emoji, a costume they’ve accessorized with rolls of toilet paper and a plunger. For the next hour, Solomon will entertain the revelers, occasionally pumping his fist as he mixes rock guitar riffs from Guns N’ Roses and the White Stripes with 1990s hip-hop and wait-for-the-drop dance beats. You can feel the bass pulse through your rib cage, punctuated by blasts from cryogenic fog cannons and strobing lasers. Solomon bops along, his hands on the knobs. Then he drops a Bingo Players ditty whose lyrics consist primarily of the cheeky refrain, “Everybody wants to know how little I care, how little I care.”

It’s hard not to interpret it as a droll retort to anyone who would question whether the CEO of Wall Street’s most storied institution—who sipped tequila at the club until almost 3 a.m.—belongs in such a hotspot while the rest of the Goldman Sachs board is presumably asleep. Solomon was outed as DJ D-Sol by the New York Times in 2017, when he was still one of two copresidents gunning for the top job at the firm. Known at the office as an über-professional, hard-charging manager with little patience for small talk, Solomon was anxious that people would no longer take him seriously—mistakenly equating the side gig with some sort of midlife crisis. Some advisers told him to hang it up. “I thought for a minute, Well, can I do this, can I not do this?” recalls Solomon, who donates the proceeds from his gigs and Spotify plays to drug-addiction-related philanthropies. (He says the total he has raised is in the six figures.) Those doubts soon dispersed, especially after his boss at the time, then-CEO Lloyd Blankfein, and others endorsed it. “You know what, it’s who I am, and nobody would tell me not to play golf,” Solomon says now. “And why shouldn’t I—because I’m a CEO?”

苏德巍担心,业余时间客串音乐DJ的事情被曝光后,人们就不再把他当回事了。但他现在已经能够泰然处之。图片来源:RICHARD “PARLAY” COPIER OF ONEIPHOTOGRAPHY/COURTESY OF PAYBACK RECORDS

苏德巍对传统行事方式的不敬,甚至是蔑视——尽管这种态度可能会在高盛的老前辈中引起争议,并会得罪其中一些人——也是他得以登上高盛之巅的决定性品质。去年10月,在他担任首席执行官一周年后不久,该银行迎来了其150岁生日;高盛是华尔街仍然以其原名称运营的最古老的大银行。在纽约一场亿万富翁云集的鸡尾酒会上,苏德巍略带自嘲地赞扬了公司的传统:“在此之前,公司领导总是在正确的时间选择正确的人出任首席执行官。”

他的任期恰逢一场历史未有之变局。华尔街正在经历一场前所未有的技术革命,而在一些分析师看来,高盛可能需要一场比其他任何大银行都更大的变革。在此之前,贝兰克梵执掌高盛长达十数年之久,他引领这家银行走向辉煌,但当他挂印离职时,高盛却陷入前所未有的不确定性。在金融危机爆发前的几年里,高盛凭借高风险交易斩获天文数字般的回报——然后比其他银行更早地出清了一些筹码,并由此安然度过这场危机。高盛在2008年扭亏为盈,随后在2009年录得创纪录盈利。这番翻云覆雨的操作给公司领导人留下了一定的回旋余地,使他们能够从容应对股东的质疑。只要能够持续带来回报,投资者就会容忍高盛不透明的财务披露方式,以及巨额薪酬和福利支出。“高盛是毋庸置疑的华尔街之王,他们做得非常好。”富国银行的分析师迈克·梅奥说。

但此后的十年则是另一番景象。金融监管和电子交易的兴起蚕食了利润。债券和大宗商品等资产的做市业务曾经是高盛的主要收入来源,但鉴于这些业务现在大体上实现了自动化,它们已经变得支离破碎——2018年占高盛净收入的37%,低于2009年的72%。(尽管高盛如今在这类交易中占据更大份额,但它们的净收入占比还是下跌了。)而且,由于高盛的老方法在很长一段时间都行之有效,它从未像竞争对手那样在后衰退时期进行深刻反省。“高盛是自身成功的牺牲品。”梅奥说。“他们并不觉得自己需要像其他表现不佳的同行那样不断革新。”

现在表现不佳的是高盛。虽然该公司仍是并购和IPO交易领域的老大,但其收入自2010年以来下降了6%,2018年跌至366亿美元,今年还将进一步下滑。在过去的五年中,其股价表现落后于金融板块和标准普尔500指数,是美国主要银行中回报率最低的。此外,在高盛因其“大到不能倒”的地位而获得联邦巨额纾困资金,进而被讽刺为“吸血乌贼”之后,这家华尔街大鳄再次面临一场严峻的声誉危机。两名前高盛高管因为合谋盗窃马来西亚投资基金1MDB数十亿美元而被起诉,这一丑闻可能导致该行付出高达50亿美元的和解费用。

苏德巍身高6英尺2英寸(约1米9)——他就坐在贝兰克梵曾经坐过的同一间办公室里——比他的前任整整高出一头。他身材魁梧,气度不凡,有一种咄咄逼人、时而好斗的气势。他摒弃了贝兰克梵特有的幽默,喜欢直言不讳,愿意反思贝兰克梵不会触及的高盛惯例。

他需要这些品质来完成接下来的任务。苏德巍敏锐地意识到,他需要进军高盛此前忽视的新业务(从大规模定量交易、管理企业支付,到为不太富裕的消费者提供银行服务,再到与小公司做生意)来推动高盛的收入增长。他还需要从公司内部榨取更多的效率。这可能意味着高盛员工不得不更加努力地工作,才能够赚取让高盛上层变得极为富有的薪水,同时还要吸引年轻有为的金融精英加入公司人才储备库。私募股权公司Stone Point Capital的董事长,高盛前首席执行官史蒂夫·弗里德曼表示:“我不觉得他是那种安于现状的人,这是一种恭维。”

在苏德巍出任首席执行官之际,弗里德曼建议他保留“一小部分核心”文化价值观,但“其他一切都必须得改变”。苏德巍以这一信条为指引。今年3月,他撕毁了该公司由来已久的着装规定,那是一份长达35页的卷宗,充斥着许多关于西装、领带和鞋子颜色的过时规定。今年夏天,高盛悄无声息地取消了员工背景调查中的毒品检测要求。同时被取消的,还包括过去由大厦安保人员实施的办公室拍照禁令;苏德巍现在经常在他的Instagram账户上发布这类照片。“这个组织有很多我想简化的官僚规定。”苏德巍说(尽管他并没有因为改变毒品检测和拍照政策而受到赞扬)。“我认为我们可以做一些工作,让世人对高盛多一点钦佩和尊重,少一点嫉妒和恐惧。”

除此之外,他还试图破除高盛通过一种由来已久的神秘且等级森严的企业文化而建立起来的“象牙塔”声誉。在铺着桃花心木的行政楼层,每当来访的同事被要求坐在等候室时,他总是非常恼火;他允许员工绕过两层接待员,径直敲门。他喜欢自己拿咖啡,不请自来地出现在部门会议上,并且拒绝聆听事先准备好的谈话要点。“他讨厌任何形式的禁卫军。”高盛的办公室主任约翰·罗杰斯说。在这样一个数十年来主要通过群发语音邮件与3.8万名员工进行沟通的公司,苏德巍要求他的助手想办法在高盛总部11层“天空大厅”(在电梯银行和自助餐厅之间)召集一个让全球员工都参与其中的硅谷式市政厅会议,以方便他即兴开会。(该公司最终放弃了这个想法,因为协调全球73个办事处所需的后勤保障工作实在过于困难和昂贵。)

让一些董事会成员感到震惊的是,去年赚了2300万美元的苏德巍习惯性地选择乘坐地铁在纽约穿行。“说真的,为什么不坐地铁呢?这样更快、更有效率。你知道的,纽约市市长可以坐地铁。为什么高盛的首席执行官就不能呢?”他说。

曾经是一家私人合伙企业的高盛已经上市20年之久。苏德巍屡屡表示,他希望最终把高盛经营得像一家上市公司。尽管贝兰克梵从未参加过高盛的季度业绩电话会议,但苏德巍不想错过任何一场。在明年1月29日的投资者日,高盛将首次邀请约300名股东、分析师和监管人员光临其曼哈顿总部,并公布苏德巍的新创新:一项时长为三至五年的战略计划。这似乎没什么了不起的,但直到现在,这家深信市场不可预测的公司只编制每个日历年的预算。苏德巍说:“我们投资的方式就像是把树枝揉搓在一起,然后在上面撒一点水。”换句话说,高盛的员工每年都得想办法比上一年赚更多的钱,但任何需要长期投入才能在日后收获回报的事情都是不予考虑的。“不能仅仅因为我们是高盛,就得跑得更快、跳得更高、获得更多利润。”首席运营官约翰·沃尔德伦指出,高盛必须专注于投资。“你必须把钱投到随时间增长的土地上。”

这一切都意味着高盛迎来了一个关键时刻,而苏德巍将在很大程度上决定这家公司是再度称雄,还是逐渐衰退,淡出视野。作为一个在DJ身份被曝光前很少在媒体露面的人,他仍然在适应与高盛王座相伴而来的聚光灯;今年秋天接受采访时,苏德巍坦言他正在努力地“过正常人的生活”。他的合作者表示,这种务实、朴实无华的心态或许正是这家银行目前所需要的。迈克尔·戴尔表示:“我认为他正在做正确的事情,以推动高盛不断演变,并参与21世纪的竞争。”他领导的戴尔科技公司成为高盛客户的时间比苏德巍在高盛工作的时间还长。(他弟弟创办的初创公司Clarity Money去年被高盛收购)。“超级油轮通常不会转向。”

Solomon’s irreverence, even disdain, for The Way Things Have Always Been Done, feather-ruffling and polarizing though it may be for the bank’s old-timers, is also the defining quality that has put him atop the venerable Goldman Sachs. Shortly after his first anniversary as CEO in October, the bank celebrated its 150th birthday; it’s the oldest of the big Wall Street banks to still operate under its original name. At a billionaire-­studded cocktail party in New York to commemorate the occasion, Solomon, with a shade of self-deprecation, praised the firm’s tradition of leaders who were “always, up to this point, the right people at the right time.”

His time is shaping up to be one characterized by historic transformation, as Wall Street undergoes an unprecedented technological revolution—and Goldman, in the view of some analysts, may undergo greater change than any other big bank. It comes on the heels of Blankfein’s dozen-year tenure, which started in glory and ended in unprecedented uncertainty. In the years leading up to the financial crisis, Goldman Sachs made astronomical returns on the back of high-risk trades—then reversed some of those bets sooner than others did, riding out the crash on top of Wall Street. Goldman turned a profit in 2008, then racked up record-high earnings in 2009. That rainmaking afforded its leaders a certain leeway with shareholders. So long as they delivered the returns, investors tolerated their opaque financial disclosures and lavish expenditures on pay and perks. “They were really the kings and queens of Wall Street, they did so well,” says Mike Mayo, a bank analyst with Wells Fargo.

But the decade since has been a different story. Financial regulation and the rise of electronic trading have dampened profits. Market-making in assets like bonds and commodities, once Goldman’s bread and butter, has turned to crumbs now that it is largely automated—representing 37% of the firm’s net revenues in 2018, down from 72% in ’09. (That drop has come even though Goldman now commands a bigger share of trading in those industries.) And because Goldman’s old ways worked so well for so long, it never went through the postrecession reckoning its rivals did. “Goldman Sachs was a victim of its own success,” Mayo says. “They didn’t feel the same need to evolve as their underperforming peers.”

Now Goldman is the one underperforming. Though it’s still No. 1 in mergers and acquisitions and IPO dealmaking, its revenue has declined 6% since 2010, to $36.6 billion in 2018, and is on track to decline further this year. Its stock has lagged both the financial sector and the S&P 500 over the past five years—yielding the worst returns of any major U.S. bank. It is also facing its biggest reputational crisis since the backlash against its too-big-to-fail bailout famously led to its caricature as a “vampire squid.” Two former Goldman Sachs executives have been indicted for conspiring in a multibillion-dollar theft from the Malaysian investment fund known as 1MDB, a scandal that could cost Goldman as much as $5 billion to settle.

Enter David Solomon. At six-feet-two, he stands—literally, in the same office where Blankfein used to sit—a full head taller than his predecessor. A broad-shouldered and imposing figure, Solomon has an aggressive, at times combative style that forgoes Blankfein’s characteristic humor in favor of blunt straight talk and a willingness to rethink Goldman conventions Blankfein wouldn’t touch.

He’ll need those qualities for the tasks ahead. Solomon is acutely aware he needs to jump-start Goldman’s revenue growth by forging into new businesses the firm had previously overlooked (from large-scale quant trading and managing corporate payments to being banker to less wealthy consumers and doing deals with smaller companies). He also needs to squeeze more efficiency from the firm—and that may mean people will have to work harder to earn the paychecks that have made Goldman’s upper echelons enormously wealthy while luring bright young financial sharks to the firm’s talent pool. “I don’t have any sense that he’s a status quo kind of guy, which I give as a compliment,” says Steve Friedman, who was once CEO of Goldman Sachs and now serves as chairman of Stone Point Capital, a private equity firm.

When Solomon became CEO, Friedman advised him to preserve a “small core” of cultural values, but that “everything else has to be subject to change.” Solomon has led by that creed. In March, he tore up the firm’s age-old dress code, a 35-page dossier with outdated stipulations about suits, ties, and shoe color. And this summer, Goldman quietly eliminated drug testing from its employee background checks. Gone, too, is the blanket ban on taking photos inside the office, once enforced by building security guards; Solomon now frequently posts such pics to his Instagram account. “The organization has a lot of bureaucracy I’d like to simplify,” says Solomon (though he doesn’t take credit for changing the drug or photo policies). “I think we can do some work to be more admired and respected, and a little less envied and feared.”

Short of knocking down walls, he’s trying to dispel the ivory-tower reputation that Goldman has cultivated through a historically secretive and hierarchical culture. On the mahogany-lined executive floor, Solomon chafes when visiting colleagues are asked to sit in the waiting room; he insists they be allowed to bypass two layers of receptionists and knock directly on his door. He prefers getting his own coffee and showing up unannounced at divisional meetings, and rejects prepared talking points. “He hates any sort of idea of Praetorian Guard, by any name,” says John F.W. Rogers, the firm’s chief of staff. At a firm that has for decades primarily communicated with its 38,000 employees via mass voicemail, Solomon asked his staff to find a way to convene a global all-hands Silicon Valley–style town hall in Goldman headquarters’ 11th-floor “sky lobby” (between the elevator banks and the cafeteria) so that he can hold them impromptu. (The company abandoned the idea after the logistics of coordinating its 73 offices proved too difficult and costly.)

To certain board members’ horror, Solomon, who made $23 million last year, habitually chooses to travel around New York City by subway. “I mean, why wouldn’t you take the subway? No, seriously,” he says. “It’s quicker and more efficient. You know, the mayor of New York can take the subway. Why can’t the CEO of Goldman Sachs?”

Goldman Sachs, once a private partnership, has been a public company for 20 years. Solomon has been saying he wants at long last to run it more like one. Whereas Blankfein never dialed in to the firm’s quarterly earnings calls, Solomon doesn’t plan to miss any. At its investor day on Jan. 29, Goldman Sachs will welcome some 300 shareholders, analysts, and regulators inside its Manhattan headquarters for the first time and unveil Solomon’s new innovation: a three- to five-year strategic plan. That may seem unremarkable, but until now the firm, believing the market too unpredictable, had only ever budgeted through each calendar year. “The way we made investments is we’d rub sticks together, we’d sprinkle a little bit on something,” says Solomon. In other words, each year Goldman’s people had to find a way to bring in more money than the last, but anything that required a longer-term commitment of resources to pay off later was off the table. “You don’t just get to run faster, jump higher, and have more profit just because we’re Goldman Sachs,” says COO John Waldron, reinforcing the focus on investing. “You’ve got to put money in the ground that grows over time.”

It all adds up to a pivotal moment for Goldman Sachs, and Solomon will help determine whether the firm leads again or fades out of relevance. As someone who was seldom in the press before the DJ D-Sol revelations, he’s still adjusting to the spotlight that comes with his powerful role; in interviews this fall, Solomon described a personal struggle to “live my life in a normal way.” His collaborators say that kind of practical, unpretentious mentality may be just what the bank needs now. “I think he’s doing the right things to evolve Goldman Sachs to compete in the 21st century,” says Michael Dell, whose company Dell Technologies has been a Goldman client longer than Solomon has worked there (and whose brother’s startup, Clarity Money, was acquired by Goldman last year). “Supertankers don’t just turn.”

****

2018年10月,苏德巍出任首席执行官,当时不仅是高盛的多事之秋,也正值他个人生活的动荡时期。他此前刚刚办理完离婚手续。履新第二周,一位前助理被控从苏德巍的美酒收藏中窃取了价值120万美元的葡萄酒,随即从曼哈顿酒店跳楼身亡。两个20来岁的女儿也在那年夏天搬到美国其他地区——苏德巍此前经常与她们在纽约共进周末晚餐。70多岁的老父亲在几年前离开人世。“我想他希望他的父母能够活着看到他成为高盛的首席执行官。”苏德巍在汉密尔顿学院读本科时就认识他的一位朋友说。“我认为,这对他来说意义非凡。”

现年57岁的苏德巍发现自己处于职业生涯的巅峰,单身,不再承担以前的许多责任——除了管理高盛这个小差事。“如果我不工作,我基本上可以做任何我想做的事情。”他说。“要是我认定我对某件事情感兴趣,我就会去做,我的意思是,我会尽我最大的能力去做这件事情,否则我不会去做。”他把这种热情用在了像DJ和风筝冲浪这样的爱好上,一些同事称他为“重生的千禧一代”。

他也把这种热情用在了高盛的工作上。在那里,他一直是个局外人。2016年年底,苏德巍与哈维·施瓦茨开始角逐最高职位,当时两人都被擢升为联席总裁。苏德巍一度被视为处于下风的那一位。他是一位投资银行家,而他的竞争对手和老板贝兰克梵都是交易员出身。在同行中,他还带着“空降”的烙印——1999年,他被高盛从贝尔斯登公司挖来,受聘为合伙人,而不是从内部一步步晋升至高管职位的。

最重要的是,在高盛和谐融洽的工作氛围中,他是一股令人不安的力量。苏德巍曾经在麦当劳工作过,申请加入高盛的头两次都被拒绝了。另一位外来者指出,从华尔街其他银行空降高盛后,你可能“感觉就像走进了欢乐谷”。在以共识为导向的公司文化中,苏德巍是一位意志坚强、动辄敲桌子的果敢决策者。他会当面告诉员工当年没有机会成为合伙人,并在有25人参加的会议上公开挑战同事的想法。“最初的几次谈话有点残酷,但人们随后开始欣赏这种风格——没有废话。”目前担任投行业务联席主管(苏德巍此前曾经担任此职)的格雷格·莱姆考表示。莱姆考向一位同事建言,如果你需要有人告诉你,你做得很好,“去雇个人帮你做吧。”

不过,苏德巍有足够的情商来驾驭公司的政治,并相应地调整自己的语气。他栽培下属的能力给上司留下了深刻印象。“他可能会因为我这么说而生我的气。”苏德巍的密友,希尔顿酒店集团的首席执行官克里斯·纳塞塔说。“但我想很多人都不知道,大卫其实是个特别可爱的家伙。”

苏德巍并没有彰显这种特质,因为他试图培养一种更加严苛的问责基调。苏德巍正在实施一套战略,其重中之重是更严格的绩效评估视角——这是他在执掌投行业务的10年中率先实施的一个基于指标的系统。在那里,他会收到一些反映传统优先事项(比如每位银行家赚取的费用)和他个人优先事项(比如谁违反了他禁止初级分析师在周六工作的规定)的统计报告。在年终评估中,苏德巍要求某些员工为一些非常细微的选择辩护,此举让他们大吃一惊。作为一位严格的财政纪律执行者,他把一些薪酬飞涨的经理赶下台,用一些低薪酬人选取而代之;除裁员之外,过去的员工透露称,在奖金发放季“一无所获”往往意味着你需要另谋出路了。与此同时,他要求员工忠诚,解雇了一些被发现在高盛合同到期前就在其他公司接受下一份工作的年轻分析师。苏德巍觉得这是一种利益冲突。谈到他的哲学时,他说:“你必须建立一种重视纪律、让人们做出艰难决定的文化。”

苏德巍着手解决高盛性别差距的方式,非常形象地展现了他的管理之道。他认为问题出在底层,随即要求他的投行家从2017年开始聘用的分析师必须有一半是女性,然后将这一指令扩大到所有新招募的员工。如果哪位银行家将女性分析师占比从大约40%提高到49%时,他不会获得任何奖励加分。“做得差不多足够好,是不算数的。”莱姆考回忆说。“这是典型的苏德巍风格。”今年履新的银行部门分析师在该公司率先实现性别平等;高盛预计,2020年新晋员工的女性数量将超过男性。“他真的是在打破玻璃天花板,”高盛合伙人、前白宫顾问迪娜·鲍威尔去年10月在《财富》最具影响力的商界女性峰会上表示。

事实上,有几个同事也使用“打破玻璃天花板”一词来描述苏德巍的方法——他好像在翻找祖母的古董,以决定典当什么,扔掉什么。上任第一天,他就发布了一份备忘录,目的是清除公司组织结构上的“条块分割”顽疾:现在,只有“一个高盛”,苏德巍写道。无论隶属于哪个部门,只要能够为公司带来业务,任何员工就可以获得额外奖励。高盛的投行部门董事长艾莉森·马斯透露称,在这封邮件抵达收件箱的几分钟之后,她就“接到50个来自各个部门的员工电话,”其中包括后台工作人员。这些来电都是给她兜售招揽客户的线索。“他好像转动钥匙,打开一扇门,让所有人都出去了。”马斯说。

接下来,苏德巍把高盛的投行业务手册翻了个底朝天,从前到后详详细细地评估了一番,就像该公司为无数客户做过的那样。在一场长达90分钟的会议上,苏德巍要求副手们将各自的业务“精简到最低限度”,并询问了多达40个问题。“他不会夸夸其谈地问问题。”首席财务官斯蒂芬·谢尔表示。苏德巍的法令是:“没有哪项业务是神圣不可侵犯的。”包括证券部门在内。他的前任,交易员出身的贝兰克梵一直拒绝对该部门进行改革;到目前为止,苏德巍已经批准了更多的自动化交易和后端业务整合,预计这将削减一些工作岗位。他还合并了高盛的高净值和消费者业务,目的是用一个单一的网络平台为这两类客户服务。苏德巍在贝尔斯登的前老板,Guggenheim Partners公司的执行董事长艾伦·施瓦茨表示:“在金融服务行业,很少有领导者既注重细节,又具有战略眼光,而苏德巍正是兼具这两种能力的少数人之一。”

鉴于高盛正在斥巨资提升技术能力(迄今为止,仅在消费者业务上就投入了13亿美元),这种牺牲应该有助于该公司提高回报率。但这也意味着员工享受的奢侈津贴会减少。一些资深银行家抱怨称,他们现在不得不乘坐经济舱,坐商务舱出行的美好旧时光一去不复返了;如今,高盛不鼓励任何人(除合伙人之外)乘坐停留在纽约总部外的黑色轿车参加会议,并建议他们改乘网约车。苏德巍表示,与开支政策相关的决策太微不足道了,他通常不会直接参与,但这些政策反映出该公司对开支和生产率日益严苛的态度。“当我们谈到‘运营效率’时,人人都听到过成本运营效率,你就是一项成本。”该公司的首席战略官斯蒂芬妮·科恩表示。“我们真正在做的是帮助员工更加有效地工作,有时是成本的问题,有时是时间的问题。”

Solomon became CEO, in October 2018, at a tumultuous time not only for the firm but in his own life. He’d recently finalized his divorce. His second week in the job, his former assistant, who’d been charged with stealing $1.2 million worth of wine from Solomon’s collection, jumped to his death from a Manhattan hotel window. Solomon’s two twentysomething daughters, with whom he’d long had a standing Sunday night dinner date in New York, had both moved across the country that summer. His father had passed away in his seventies a couple of years earlier. “I think he wishes his parents had been alive to see him become CEO of Goldman Sachs,” says a friend who’s known Solomon since his undergraduate years at Hamilton College. “I think that would have been incredibly meaningful to him.”

The 57-year-old Solomon found himself at the zenith of his career, single and no longer tethered to many of his former responsibilities—outside the small task of running Goldman Sachs. “If I’m not working, I can basically do whatever I want,” he says. “And as a personality, if I decide I’m interested in something and I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it. I mean, I’m going to try to really do it to the highest capacity of my ability, or I’m not going to do it.” He’s applied that intensity to hobbies like DJing and kite-surfing—some colleagues have termed him a “born-again millennial.”

He’s also applied it at the bank, where Solomon has always been something of an outlier. Competing with Harvey Schwartz for the top job—beginning in late 2016, when they were both named copresidents—Solomon was seen as the underdog. He was an investment banker; both his rival and boss Blankfein were traders. Among peers, he also bore the brand of a “lateral”—he had been hired from Bear Stearns as a partner in 1999, instead of working his way up to the title from within.

Above all Solomon, who’d once worked at McDonald’s and been rejected the first two times he applied to Goldman, was a jarring force in the firm’s tirelessly collegial atmosphere. Coming from elsewhere on the Street, another transplant notes, Goldman could “feel like you walked into Pleasantville.” In the firm’s consensus-driven culture, Solomon was a strong-willed, table-pounding decision-maker. He would tell employees to their face when they had no shot of making partner that year, and openly challenge colleagues’ ideas in meetings of 25 other people. “The first couple conversations were a little brutal, but people then appreciate it—there’s no BS,” says Gregg Lemkau, who has Solomon’s former job as cohead of investment banking. If you need someone to tell you you did a good job, Lemkau advised a colleague, “Go hire somebody to do that for you.”

Still, Solomon had enough emotional intelligence to navigate the firm’s politics and temper his tone accordingly, and he impressed his superiors with his ability to nurture and groom underlings. “He’d probably be pissed at me for saying this,” says Chris Nassetta, Hilton’s CEO and Solomon’s close friend, “but I think a lot of people don’t know that David is a sweetheart of a guy.”

Solomon doesn’t emphasize that side as he fosters a more rigid tone of accountability. Underpinning the strategy Solomon is bringing to Goldman Sachs now is a stricter lens for performance evaluation—a metrics-based system that he piloted in the decade he ran the investment banking division. There, he’d receive statistical reports on such factors that reflected priorities both traditional—such as the fees each banker collected—and personal, like which ones violated his rule against making junior analysts work on Saturdays. In year-end reviews, he surprised some people by asking them to justify granular choices. A fiscal disciplinarian, he unseated some managers whose pay ballooned out of whack and replaced them with cheaper people; besides layoffs, past employees say getting “zeroed” at bonus season was a signal to start job-hunting. At the same time, he demanded loyalty, dismissing young analysts who were caught accepting their next job elsewhere before their Goldman contract was up. Solomon felt it was a conflict of interest. Of his philosophy, he says, “You have to set a culture where discipline matters, and people make hard decisions.”

The ultimate manifestation of Solomon’s method is the way he set out to tackle Goldman’s gender gap. Concluding that the problem began at the bottom, Solomon instructed his investment bankers to hire half-female analyst classes starting in 2017, then expanded the mandate to all new recruits. Bankers received no bonus points when they increased the share of women from roughly 40% to as much as 49%. “Like, doing almost well enough doesn’t count,” Lemkau recalls. “That is quintessential David.” The banking division’s analysts that started this year are the firm’s first to achieve gender parity; firm-wide, Goldman expects its 2020 crop to include more women than men. “He is really breaking glass,” Dina Powell, a Goldman partner and former White House adviser, said at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in October.

Indeed, several colleagues use the phrase “breaking glass” to describe Solomon’s approach—often in the sense of someone who set upon Goldman’s old ways as though he was rifling through Grandma’s antiques to decide what to pawn and what to toss. His first day as CEO, he put out a memo aimed at bulldozing the territorial silos in which the firm was organized: Now, there’d be just “One Goldman Sachs,” Solomon wrote. People would be compensated more for bringing in business anywhere in the firm, regardless of where they sat. Within minutes of the email hitting inboxes, says Alison Mass, chairman of the investment banking division, she had “50 calls from random people around the firm,” including back-office workers, with ideas to sell her clients. “It was literally like he turned a key and unlocked a door and let everyone out,” Mass says.

Next, Solomon turned Goldman’s investment banking playbook on itself, running the kind of front-to-back review it has done for innumerable clients. He asked his lieutenants to strip their businesses “down to the studs,” asking as many as 40 questions in the span of a 90-minute meeting. “He doesn’t ask a question rhetorically,” notes CFO Stephen Scherr. Solomon’s edict: “There are no sacred cows.” That included the securities division, where Blankfein, a trader by background, had resisted changes; so far, Solomon has green-lit more automated trading and the consolidation of back-end operations, which is expected to shave off some jobs. He also merged Goldman’s high-net-worth and consumer businesses, with the aim of serving both sets of customers with a single web platform. “There are very few leaders in the financial services business who are very detail-oriented and at the same time strategic,” says Alan Schwartz, once Solomon’s boss at Bear Stearns, now Guggenheim Partners’ executive chairman. “David is one of those who does both.”

The proverbial bovine sacrifice should help Goldman improve returns as it spends to scale up its technology ($1.3 billion on the consumer business alone, so far). But it also means fewer luxury perks for employees. Some senior bankers lament having to fly coach on trips where in the good old days they sat in business class; Goldman now discourages anyone but partners from gliding into the line of black cars waiting outside the bank’s New York headquarters to get to meetings, telling them to take Uber instead. Solomon says expense policy decisions are too small-potato to involve him directly, but they reflect an increasing rigor toward expenses and productivity. “When we say ‘operating efficiency,’ everyone hears cost—operating efficiency, you’re a cost,” says Stephanie Cohen, the firm’s chief strategy officer. “What we’re really trying to do is help people do their job more efficiently, and sometimes that’s a cost thing, sometimes it’s a time thing.”

****

今年夏天,高盛与苹果合作推出第一张信用卡。自那以来,苏德巍一直在打磨一种新的派对戏法。他首先会说:“请拿出你的手机。”然后,他会花两分钟时间在手机上刷几下,再添加对方社保号码的后四位。实际上,苏德巍已经为他的许多朋友和熟人开设了苹果卡账户。“很容易,对吧?”他说。“还不是非常完美。”

苹果卡是为iPhone手机钱包量身定做的,与之对应的是无数钛制实体钱包。这项合作关系是由2016年首次亮相的高盛消费银行马库斯(Marcus)发展而来的。这张卡在银行内部的代号为“饼干计划”; 苹果公司本身也被称为“土星”——也许是因为高盛作为其合作伙伴,被视为其轨道上的众多卫星之一。高盛和万事达卡的信用卡的标识最终出现在白色金属矩形的背面(在虚拟版上看不到)。

这张信用卡的发展堪称一个生动的寓言,从中可窥视这家银行在成立一个半世纪后探索新业务的努力——以及有时候发现自己无法适应新环境时的尴尬。直到最近,高盛还从未把自己想象成一家零售银行,即使在金融危机时代一项监管政策的改变允许它这样做之后。“我认为我们是在否认。”莱姆考说。但随着收入稳步缩水,高盛不得不接受它必须得尝试新事物这一现实。高盛的目标是到2020年年底,每年从新业务中获得50亿美元收入,而马库斯有望创造超过10亿美元的收入。

Since Goldman Sachs launched its first credit card, in partnership with Apple, over the summer, Solomon has been workshopping a new party trick. It starts with the phrase, “Take out your phone.” In a two-minute routine requiring a few swipes and the last four digits of your Social Security number, Solomon has been virtually opening Apple Card accounts for many of his friends and acquaintances. “It’s pretty easy, right?” he says, adding, “It’s not perfect.”

The Apple Card—tailor-made for the iPhone’s mobile wallet, with a numberless titanium physical counterpart—was a partnership that grew out of Marcus, the fledgling consumer bank within Goldman Sachs that made its debut in 2016. The card was code-named “Project Cookie” inside the bank; Apple itself was known as “Saturn”—perhaps because Goldman, as one of its partners, was treated like one of many moons in its orbit. Goldman’s logo, along with Mastercard’s, ended up on the back of the white metal rectangle (and is nowhere to be seen on the virtual version).

The credit card’s development has been a telling parable about a bank exploring a new business a century and a half into its existence, and at times finding itself out of its league. Goldman until recently never fancied itself a retail banker, even after a financial-­crisis era change to its regulatory status allowed it to become one. “I think we were in denial,” says Lemkau. But as its revenue has steadily shrunk, it has had to come to terms with trying something new. Goldman is targeting $5 billion in annual revenue from new businesses by the end of 2020, with Marcus on track to generate more than $1 billion.

苏德巍在高盛纽约总部大厅里。他希望简化公司的等级制度。他真诚待人的处事风格延伸到他的通勤方式上:令一些董事会成员沮丧的是,他经常乘坐地铁出行。图片来源:TONY CALIANESE—COURTESY OF @DAVIDSOLOMON

苏德巍和高盛都不喜欢做任何他们无法做得出类拔萃的事情。高盛认为,它至少能够像旧金山那些在车库中创业的企业家那样,开创一项消费科技业务。然而,在创建马库斯三年之后,它遇到了一家初创企业经常遭遇的许多问题,但并没有催生同样的文化氛围。近年来,马库斯实施了一系列形形色色的收购交易(包括今年斥资7.5亿美元收购财务顾问网络United Capital,这是高盛近二十年最大一笔收购案)。它不仅聘用内部工程师,同时还把许多工作外包给四大咨询公司中的三家。几位前马库斯雇员表示,这是一段巴别塔式的经历。让工程师恼火的是,高盛电脑要求运行合规的系统,而这往往会限制其功能。他们将其戏称为“库什纳”——这是指美国总统特朗普的女婿在苹果Mac电脑上运行微软Windows系统的做法。由于没有自己的消费者数据支持测试,高盛起初为马库斯贷款承受的损失高于预期。苹果卡的推出也出现了一些问题;纽约监管机构已经开始调查高盛的信用额度算法是否存在性别歧视,该公司对此予以否认。尽管如此,马库斯仍然没有一款移动App,但知情者透露称,它很快就会推出。

马库斯真正拥有的,是让大多数金融科技初创公司相形见绌的规模——550亿美元存款和50亿美元贷款。“一旦开始冒险,你会犯错误,你会亏钱,事情会变糟,”苏德巍说。“唯一不同的是,我们不会站在那里,(像Facebook公司那样)用扩音器大肆宣扬‘快速突破,除旧立新’。”

今年从高盛董事会退休的哈佛商学院教授比尔·乔治表示,苏德巍对“可能出现什么问题”的敏锐预期,是他被选为首席执行官的一个主要原因。“你知道有些职业篮球运动员的后脑勺长了眼睛吗?他就拥有那种周边视觉。”

Neither Solomon nor Goldman likes doing anything unless they can excel, and the firm determined it should be able to start a consumer tech business at least as well as any garage-full of entrepreneurs in San Francisco. Three years after launching Marcus, though, it has encountered many of the problems of a startup without engendering quite the same cultural feel. Between a patchwork of acquisitions—including its $750 million purchase of financial-adviser network United Capital this year, the firm’s largest in nearly two decades—and engineers both in-house and outsourced to three of the “Big Four” consulting firms simultaneously, former Marcus employees describe a Babel-like experience. Engineers chafed at the way Goldman computers require running compliance systems that restrict their functions, and dubbed them “Kushners”—a reference to the way presidential son-in-law Jared famously runs Microsoft Windows on a Mac. Without its own consumer data to back-test, Goldman initially took higher losses on Marcus loans than it planned. The Apple Card rollout has also been glitchy; New York regulators have opened an investigation into whether Goldman’s credit limit algorithm has a sexist bias, which the bank denies. For all that, Marcus still doesn’t have a mobile app—though people close to the bank say it’s coming soon.

What it does have is scale—$55 billion in deposits and $5 billion in loans, dwarfing most fintech startups. “When you take risks, you make mistakes, you lose money, things go wrong,” Solomon says. “The only difference is we don’t stand up there and trumpet publicly in an amplifier, ‘Go fast and break things.’ ”

Solomon’s keen anticipation of “what possibly could go wrong” is a major reason he was chosen to be CEO, says Bill George, a Harvard Business School professor who retired this year from Goldman’s board. “You know how they talk about professional basketball players having eyes in the back of their head? He had that kind of peripheral vision.”

****

长期以来,高盛内部经常用一个短语来形容那些最有可能走上员工们梦寐以求的合伙人之路的人:经济杀手。“这在过去是唯一重要的事情。”一位前董事总经理说。在通往顶峰的路上,你会吃掉你杀死的东西:奖金实际上完全是根据你当年为公司创造的收入来支付的。

随着苏德巍寻求激励公司上下更加紧密地合作,他执掌的领导团队正在重新调整高盛向员工支付报酬的方式——到目前为止,员工薪酬一直是最大一块支出,大约占今年收入的35%。这意味着重新定义何为“杀手”。假期前后,当今年的薪酬政策讨论开始的时候,高盛发布了一项新规则。它将把奖金更多地与公司的新优先事项联系起来,包括三年的时间线目标、多样化招聘、彰显“一个高盛”精神,以及公司的整体回报。这一制度实际上使更多的员工薪酬置于他们能够控制的范围之外,并可能面临风险,尤其是在一些人越来越确信牛市即将见顶的情况下。“现实地讲,我认为未来不存在巨大的上升空间。”一位最近离职的合伙人表示。“我觉得再也不会像以前那样了。”

苏德巍和他的首席级高管们都没有明确表示要实施大规模降薪计划。但他们为2019年前9个月设定的薪酬池比去年同期低11%,比收入的降幅(7%)大得多。员工们预计,他们的收入会日益扁平化。上述前董事总经理表示:“现在的100万美元就相当于过去的300万美元。”他补充称,所谓的董事总经理(比合伙人低一级)薪酬标准今年可能接近75万美元,包括奖金在内。

这一趋势或许是导致或影响(或两者皆有)近期合伙人大量流失的原因。自苏德巍上任以来,约有10%的合伙人已经宣布离职,更多的人可能会在年底前离开。这种被首席运营官沃尔德伦称为“稀释”的现象,为公司创造了一个推动更具前瞻性思维的年轻一代高管上位的机会。苏德巍说,他唯一的意图是“让年轻人拾阶而上,那些已经在这里待了一段时间的人不会待太久。”

这种态度使得苏德巍在千禧一代和Z世代中广受欢迎,他们现在占高盛员工总数的75%。这些年轻人普遍认为,他就是高盛一直在等待的那位变革推动者。与此同时,苏德巍试图将合伙人队伍从如今的440人左右削减到400人,以期让高盛员工的职业生涯巅峰(即成为合伙人)更加难以攀登。鉴于在贝兰克梵任期内,尽管收入停滞不前,合伙人队伍仍然增长了63%,这种做法是有道理的。合伙人身份仍然是这家公司的圣杯,这也是为什么低级别员工长期以来愿意接受相较于华尔街其他公司薪酬标准的“高盛折扣” 的原因所在——这是为了换取最终挣大钱的机会。此举要传达的信息是,“如果你真的在这里取得成功,金字塔的顶端是极其令人垂涎的。”苏德巍说。

这种权衡的一个结果是,对大多数人来说,高盛可能没有那么多令人趋之若鹜的奢侈待遇,也不再是一个精英避风港。“我不希望让高盛变得更具排他性。我所希望的其实恰恰相反。”苏德巍说。“我试图让它变得更加开放,更容易接近,更容易理解,更人性化。”毕竟,许多年轻的高盛人既不记得繁荣时期的好日子,也不记得纾困时期的艰难岁月;对于他们来说,没有什么比在夜店跟绰号D-Sol的音乐DJ合照一张自拍更能代表这家银行了。(财富中文网)

本文另一版本登载于《财富》杂志2019年12月刊,标题为《打破高盛内部的旧规则》。

译者:任文科

There was long a phrase inside Goldman Sachs to describe those most likely to ascend the firm’s coveted partner track: an economic killer. “It used to be the only thing that mattered,” says an ex–managing director. And en route to the top, you ate what you killed: Bonuses were paid virtually entirely according to the revenue you made for the firm that year.

As Solomon seeks to spur the firm to work more cooperatively, he and his leadership team are recalibrating how Goldman pays its people—by far the firm’s biggest expense, accounting for about 35% of revenue this year. And that means redefining who’s a killer. Around holiday time, when this year’s compensation discussions begin, a new rubric will tie bonuses more to the company’s new priorities, including three-year timeline goals, diverse hiring, participating in the “One Goldman Sachs” spirit—and the overall returns of the firm. The system effectively puts more of employees’ compensation out of their own control and potentially at risk—especially as some grow more convinced that the bull market is poised to top out soon. “I don’t think realistically there’s a tremendous amount of upside in the future,” says a recently departed partner. “I don’t think it will ever be what it used to be.”

Neither Solomon nor his C-suite have explicitly professed an intention to give paychecks a haircut. But the compensation pool they earmarked for the first nine months of 2019 is 11% lower than it was for that period last year, a steeper drop than the 7% decline in revenue. Employees anticipate a flattening phenomenon: “$1 million is the new $3 million,” says the former managing director, adding that this year’s norm for pay for the so-called MD tier—one rung below partner—may be closer to $750,000, including bonus.

That trend could be cause or effect—or both—of a recent exodus of partners. About 10% of them have announced their departures since Solomon took over, and more could leave by the end of the year. The “thinning out,” as COO Waldron calls it, has created an opening into which the firm is actively promoting a younger, forward-thinking generation of executives. Solomon says his only intention is “that young people get to move up, and people that have been here for a while don’t stay too long.”

That’s made Solomon popular with the millennial and Gen Z cohorts who now make up 75% of Goldman Sachs’s workforce—and there’s a mood among them that Solomon is the change the bank has been waiting for. At the same time, he aims to make the culmination of their Goldman Sachs career—the partnership—just that much harder to attain, by paring partner ranks even further toward 400, from about 440 or so today. It also makes sense when you consider that the partnership ranks grew by some 63% over Blankfein’s tenure, even as revenue stagnated. Partnership remains the firm’s holy grail, and the reason employees at lower levels have long been willing to accept the “Goldman discount” compared with other Wall Street salaries—in exchange for the chance to eventually make far more. The message, Solomon says, is, “If you really succeed here, the top of the pyramid is super-aspirational.”

The tradeoff is that for most, Goldman Sachs may have fewer of the trappings of a haven for the elite. “I don’t want to make Goldman Sachs more exclusive. In fact the opposite,” says Solomon. “I’m trying to make it more open, more approachable, more understood, more human. After all, many younger Goldmanites remember neither the boom times nor bailout days; to them, nothing symbolizes the bank more than a selfie at the club with D-Sol.

A version of this article appears in the December 2019 issue of Fortune with the headline “Ripping Up the Rules at Goldman Sachs.”

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