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Goldman Sachs’ treasurer could—finally—shake up the male-dominated bank

February 14, 2020, 1:32 PM UTC

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Hope Hicks returns to the White House, Fed nominee Judy Shelton is grilled by senators, and we wonder if Goldman Sachs is practicing what it preaches. The Broadsheet is off on Monday for Presidents Day—we’ll see you here on Tuesday. Happy Valentine’s Day and have a wonderful weekend. 

– A golden Goldman opportunity. Goldman Sachs has gotten plenty of attention lately—including from The Broadsheet—for its new initiative to require the companies it takes public to have at least one director who is female and/or a person of color. CEO David Solomon said last month that the mandate was aimed at “accelerating” a trend toward more diverse boards that is developing too slowly on its own. Yet a new Bloomberg story highlights that Goldman’s efforts to diversify itself are also moving at a glacial pace.

The article profiles Goldman global treasurer Beth Hammack, who’s tasked with reworking how Goldman funds itself and who’s seen as a candidate for higher office at the bank.

Her further ascent—she’s considered a potential CFO or trading division head—would shake up the upper echelon of the 151-year-old firm, which has been nearly all male. Bloomberg reports:

Even in an industry where men dominate every major firm, the dearth of women atop Goldman is stark. None has ever served as its chair, chief executive officer, president, chief operating officer or CFO. Not a single division boasts a female leader. Only two women have been so-called named executive officers—but none since 2005.

Hammack featured in my story last year about the dearth of female CEOs at major U.S. banks. She told me that Goldman has a “long history of women pulling up other women,” but the reality of the firm’s makeup means she’s had to have men—like Solomon and CFO Stephen Scherr—“looking out” for her.

The Bloomberg story describes Hammack as humble and brilliant—she once explained liquidity coverage ratios in Haiku; it paints a less rosy picture of her employer.

One point in particular jumped out at me; that Hammack’s promotion to treasurer in 2018 was controversial because top Goldman executives couldn’t agree whether its trading unit could part with one of its few senior women. That speaks to the pigeon-holing that we know some women face and to the perils of tokenization; if diversity is measured only in headcount—rather than being seen through a larger cultural lens—even a deserved promotion can be considered a loss.

Claire Zillman

Today’s Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe


- Guess who's back? Almost two years after she left and went to Fox, Hope Hicks will return to the White House as an aide to Jared Kushner, with the title "counselor to the president." She won't be working on communications this time around, instead focusing on projects that Kushner oversees—which include the re-election campaign. New York Times

- Ivanka's bill. Ivanka Trump is working with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to introduce new legislation, the W-GDP Act. The bill would establish an office of women's empowerment led by an ambassador-at-large within the State Department. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who has fought the Trump Administration's expansion of the global gag rule limiting funding to aid groups that provide abortion services, is one of the lawmakers introducing the legislation. In other Ivanka news, Fortune's Alan Murray writes about the group of CEOs who are working with the First Daughter on reskilling the American workforce.  

- Sayonara, shopping service. Walmart will shutter Jetblack, its personal shopping service launched by Rent the Runway co-founder Jenny Fleiss; she left the startup last year. The retail giant had sought investors for the service, which allowed members who paid $600 a year to order almost anything by text message, but was unsuccessful. Almost 300 employees will be laid off. Wall Street Journal

- Teaming up. The U.S. men’s soccer team players association called on the U.S. Soccer Federation to pay the U.S. Women's National Team "significantly more" than the men earned under their recently expired contract. The men are negotiating for a new contract, and U.S. Soccer wants to keep their pay the same—which the men say is a "desperate attempt to cover up the fact that what they did to the women in 2017 [when the women signed their most recent contract] is indefensible." Wall Street Journal


- Senators grill Shelton. President Trump's nominee to the Federal Reserve Judy Shelton faced tough questioning from Republican and Democratic senators yesterday. Some Republicans, including Sens. Pat Toomey and Richard Shelby, are "concerned" about Shelton's candidacy; if she loses two GOP votes, Shelton's nomination would be in question. Her views and past statements of note include advocating for a gold standard and changing her opinion on deposit insurance. CNBC

- Past dueThe House voted yesterday to extend the deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The deadline was for 1982, and it's unlikely the GOP-controlled Senate will agree to do the same. It's the second piece of ERA news this week: On Monday, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she thought activists should abandon the fight to ratify the current ERA and instead start over. New York Times

- In and out. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson reshuffled his cabinet yesterday. Out of the cabinet are business secretary Andrea Leadsom, housing minister Esther McVey, secretary of state at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Theresa Villiers, and transport minister Nusrat Ghani. Anne-Marie Trevelyan got a promotion from defense minister to international development secretary; Brexit defender Suella Braverman is Johnson's new attorney general; and Amanda Milling is now Conservative party chair. Guardian

- Diversity legacy. Katherine W. Phillips was one of the leading academic voices on the importance and challenges of diversity. The Columbia Business School professor died at 47 last month. Her work studied everything from the effects of black women’s hairstyles on perceptions of their professionalism to how office holiday parties can cause friction between racial groups. She told companies and employers that "the value of diversity is there for you to capture." New York Times


Greetings from the alternate universe where Oprah and Michelle Obama are running for president Washington Post

The IMF undergoes structural reform The Economist

How No Time to Die could evolve the concept of the 'Bond girl' Mashable

MP Tracy Brabin's off-the-shoulder dress raises £20,000 for Girlguiding Guardian


"Not sure who was more excited. Glad she remembers me after a year!"

-Astronaut Christina Koch on reuniting with her dog, captured on video