Already a member? Log In

Goldman’s Inside Man & Peltz’s Disney Fantasia

The new lead independent director of Goldman Sachs will be David Viniar, the firm’s longtime chief financial officer.
The new lead independent director of Goldman Sachs will be David Viniar, the firm’s longtime chief financial officer. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
January 21, 2024

There’s nothing like the old, flying-back-from-Davos-on-the-G650, late Friday afternoon news dump, courtesy of our friends at Goldman Sachs. Last Sunday, I raised the question of who would replace Bayo Ogunlesi as the lead independent director of Goldman now that the Nigerian investment banker and money manager is selling his firm, Global Infrastructure Partners, to BlackRock for $12.5 billion and joining its board. He obviously couldn’t both be the lead director of Goldman and on the board of BlackRock. I’m also sure that David Solomon was not that happy that Bayo didn’t use Goldman as an adviser (he used Evercore) or give Solomon the chance to buy the company. So they will be parting ways, with Bayo exiting the board after Goldman’s annual shareholder meeting in the spring. 

I had wondered whether an existing Goldman board member such as Kimberley Harris, a former Davis Polk partner who is now general counsel at NBCU, or Ellen Kullman, the former C.E.O. of DuPont, would replace Bayo. They are both distinguished and independent. But late last week, Goldman provided its own answer, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The new lead independent director of Goldman Sachs will be David Viniar, the Goldman Sachs chief financial officer from May 1999 (when Goldman became a public company) until January 2013, when he retired from Goldman and became a member of its board. It’s an interesting choice and one that should put to rest once and for all the rumblings about Solomon’s future at Goldman.