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FILE PHOTO: The ticker symbol and logo for Goldman Sachs is displayed on a screen on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 18, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo (REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: The ticker symbol and logo for Goldman Sachs is displayed on a screen on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 18, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo (REUTERS)
wsj

Goldman’s veteran deal makers pass the torch to new leaders

The Wall Street firm has tapped Stephan Feldgoise and Mark Sorrell to run its M&A business

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s three merger heads are stepping aside as the firm looks to pass a key business to the next generation.

Stephan Feldgoise, based in New York, and Mark Sorrell, in London, will take over the group, which is Wall Street’s biggest by revenue and central to Goldman’s reputation as a financial powerhouse.

Michael Carr, Dusty Philip and Gilberto Pozzi will become chairmen in the M&A department, dropping their administrative duties to focus on bringing in deals. The title comes with freedom that some bankers covet, but without the day-to-day control of revenue and personnel that can confer power inside the firm.

M&A is a profitable business on Wall Street and wildly so at Goldman, which commands larger fees than rivals and has a near monopoly on the largest transactions. The business made $3.2 billion in revenue last year and has few of the expenses associated with, for example, securities trading.

Goldman is ranked No. 1 in announced transactions so far in 2020, as it is most years, though the coronavirus pandemic and the looming U.S. election have slowed deal making.

The transition is part of a broader generational shift at Goldman, where older partners are being redeployed or, in some cases, pushed to retire to make way for younger ones.

The lean years after the 2008 crisis bred a stasis across Wall Street. With shrinking paydays and fewer opportunities elsewhere, bankers and traders stayed longer in their seats—to the frustration of those below them. The challenge now for Goldman and other banks is to ease that bottleneck without losing institutional memory and key client relationships, a tension likely to bubble up again this fall as the firm prepares to promote a new class of partners.

Mr. Carr is one of Goldman’s longest-serving bankers and one of just a handful of executives who were already partners when the firm went public in 1999. He started at Salomon Brothers in the 1980s—where he befriended a young Michael Corbat, now Citigroup Inc.’s CEO—and joined Goldman in 1998 as it brought in a crew of rainmakers ahead of the IPO.

He and Mr. Pozzi, an Italian banker close to some of Europe’s biggest companies, have co-run the group since 2015. Mr. Philip, who joined Goldman in 1991 and previously ran its industrials banking group, was promoted in 2018 to join them. The trio has kept Goldman at the forefront of a record surge in global M&A, protecting the firm’s grip on megamergers while pushing into smaller markets.

Mr. Feldgoise has run Goldman’s consumer and retail investment-banking group since 2019, a job he’ll keep for now. He has worked on deals including Walgreen’s takeover of European pharmacy chain Alliance Boots and the merger of utilities Exelon Corp. and Pepco Holdings Inc., and briefly left Goldman in 2017.

Mr. Sorrell, the son of British advertising mogul Martin Sorrell, joined Goldman in 1994. He has steered some of the firm’s biggest deals in Europe, including London Stock Exchange’s $15 billion takeover of data provider Refinitiv, announced last year.

Write to Liz Hoffman at liz.hoffman@wsj.com

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