Solomon will assume the helm effective Oct. 1.
Tuesday’s news coincides with the firm’s second-quarter earnings results. The bank reported earnings per share of $5.98, beating analysts’ estimates of $4.66. Revenue for the second quarter came in at $9.4 billion, outpacing estimates of $8.76 billion.
Blankfein’s departure marks the end of an era. The 63-year-old is one of the longest-serving CEOs at a bulge bracket bank having been in the role for 12 years. He joined Goldman in 1982 through J. Aron & Co., a commodities trading firm, and eventually worked his way up the ranks. The son of a postal worker who grew up in public housing, Blankfein put himself through Harvard and briefly practiced tax law before transitioning to finance.
Blankfein and JPMorgan Chase’s (JPM) Jamie Dimon had been the only two remaining big bank CEOs from the 2008 financial crisis.
“Could it have been earlier?” Blankfein said to the New York Times. “Could it be later? I’m not tired. I’m well. I’m not out of gas.”
Blankfein said in a statement that Solomon is “the right person” to lead the firm.
“He has demonstrated a proven ability to build and grow businesses, identified creative ways to enhance our culture and has put clients at the center of our strategy. Through the talent of our people and the quality of our client franchise, Goldman Sachs is poised to realize the next stage of growth.”
Solomon has worked in finance for 35 years. The 55-year-old joined Goldman Sachs in 1999 just months after its initial public offering as a partner, one of the most coveted roles on Wall Street and a clear sign of his seniority at the time. In 2006, he was named the co-head of the investment banking division.
In 2016, Solomon was named co-president and COO alongside Harvey Schwartz when then-president and COO Gary Cohn departed Goldman Sachs to join the Trump Administration. Schwartz retired from Goldman earlier this year making Solomon the clear heir apparent.
Solomon began his career on Wall Street at Irving Trust in 1984, a time when firms were small and primarily private and focused on regional businesses in the U.S. While applying to business school in the late 1980s, he took a job at Drexel Burnham Lambert, a place that got him “fired up about finance,” he said in an “Exchanges at Goldman Sachs” podcast last year. He spent nearly nine years at Bear Stearns leading the junk bonds operation before joining Goldman.
His peers view him as someone who’s a hard worker, ambitious, and curious.
“David is a very commercial, hardworking, gregarious guy who will be a great leader for Goldman,” said MidOcean Partners CEO Ted Virtue, who hired Solomon at Drexel Burnham Lambert in the 1980s.
Virtue added: “He’s been accomplished at every different firm he’s been with. I suspect he will be incredibly successful in this new role. He’s done an incredible job navigating a career that’s covered sales and trading, capital markets, and investment banking, so he has a broad perspective on how to serve his clients.”
Longtime Jefferies (JEF) CEO Rich Handler, another Drexel alum, echoed that sentiment.
“I’ve known David since we were both young at Drexel. He has worked consistently hard throughout his career and everyone knows he is highly capable. I’m happy for him and they are fortunate to have him,” Handler said.
Outside of the office, he serves on the board of The Robin Hood Foundation, an organization dedicated to fighting poverty. His other extracurricular activities including moonlighting as D.J. D-Sol. His latest “Don’t Stop” is streaming on Spotify (SPOT). He has two daughters.
Solomon grew up in Westchester County, New York. He graduated from Hamilton College with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He credits a mandatory public speaking course for providing him applicable skills for finance. He serves on Hamilton’s board of trustees.
Here’s a page from his high school yearbook:
Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.