Goldman Sachs' (GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (The) Report elevation of Gary Cohn, Jon Winkelried and John Weinberg to top spots should please the storied Wall Street firm's investment-banking contingent. At the same time, it puts another trading executive in a top spot.
Late Sunday, the company named Cohn and Winkelried presidents and co-chief operating officers at Goldman, while appointing Weinberg vice chairman. All three executives will report to Lloyd Blankfein, the company's new chairman and chief executive, who will replace Hank Paulson pending approval of Paulson as Treasury secretary.
Most recently, Winkelried and Weinberg co-headed the investment-banking division at the firm. The two partners led Goldman to the top merger and acquisition underwriting position in 2005. Weinberg will continue his role as a co-head of the investment-banking division.
"Investment banking still remains as Goldman's core business," said Harrell Smith, manager of the institutional securities and investments group at Celent. "They are No. 1 or 2 on the Street perennially in all businesses related to investment banking. They are the gold standard.
"This reinforces the importance that investment banking continues to play in the business."
Cohn most recently ran the firm's global securities businesses and, like Blanfeink, comes from Goldman's trading side. Blankfein, who was appointed in early June to replace Paulson as chairman and chief executive, rose through the ranks at Goldman as a trader in its massively profitable fixed-income, currency and commodity division.
Despite Goldman's historically strong investment banking practice, its most recent success has been attributable to trading. In the first quarter this year, Goldman's equity trading revenue rose 94%, while its bond and commodities trading revenue rose 50%. Just last week, the firm reported second-quarter results, which again blew away Wall Street estimates because of trading. Revenue from trading and principal investment more than doubled in the second quarter, and Goldman's main profit center continued to be its fixed-income, currency and commodities desk, where revenue rose 15% from the first quarter.
Still, the firm is no slouch in corporate finance. The firm ranked first last year in worldwide merger and acquisition advisory, beating out other top M&A shops including
. The firm brought in almost $2 billion in M&A fees, according to Thomson financial. The firm's equity investment-banking practice was ranked second on the Street last year, behind
, raking in over $1.2 billion in fees for the firm.