“You make progress, but the progress as you’re looking at it day to day feels slow, and it feels slow because you’re a big organisation,” Solomon told the Women in Corporate Leadership Initiative in January. He couldn’t give a good reason when asked why women haven’t climbed higher. “But you know over time that will change. It’s our job to change it.”
When Solomon was named sole president on Monday, he became the frontrunner to succeed Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein, rising atop a small and male group. Harvey Schwartz, who had been co-president, is leaving. Possible contenders had included Vice Chairman Pablo Salame, finance chief Marty Chavez and even former Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn, who’s stepping down from his job as President Donald Trump’s economic adviser.
Goldman Sachs isn’t alone. No woman has ever run a major Wall Street bank. Less than a quarter of US executives and senior managers at Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Goldman were women in 2016. Morgan Stanley last released data for 2015, when women made up just 17.9 percent of its leaders.
This month marks the 10th anniversary of 10,000 Women, the Goldman Sachs programme sponsoring female entrepreneurs worldwide. If Solomon becomes CEO, part of his job will be making sure the race to replace him doesn’t look like the last one. “I’ve seen women who are very talented, who have big revenue roles, big leadership roles, and we just haven’t seen them get across the finish line,” said Ana Duarte-McCarthy, who ran diversity efforts at Citigroup.