Ex-BofA No. 2 Tom Montag said to be in line to join Goldman Sachs board

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  • Goldman Sachs board plans to tap Tom Montag to join, Bloomberg reports.
  • Montag was a divisive figure when leading Bank of America’s investment bank.
  • Montag had previously been a top executive at Goldman Sachs.

Tom Montag retired as Bank of America’s No. 2 in 2021 amid questions about his leadership style. Now, he is said to be in line to join the board of Goldman Sachs as its CEO, David Solomon, faces scrutiny over his leadership. 

Naming Montag, who had previously been at Goldman with Solomon, “would likely signal that the CEO — who also serves as chairman — is shoring up support,” report Bloomberg’s Sridhar Natarajan and Katherine Doherty.


Yet Montag was on the trading side of Goldman, while Solomon was a banker, and the two businesses are not always the best of friends. Still, Bloomberg notes, Montag would be the first bank executive named to the board under Solomon, who became CEO of the bank in 2018.  

The board already has banking experience, with David Viniar, Goldman’s former longtime chief financial officer, and Adebayo Ogunlesi, a former Credit Suisse banker and founder and chief executive of private-equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners, as among its current 12 members. Ogunlesi is lead director.

Having another ally on the board would come at a critical time. Solomon has come under fire over a series of strategic missteps in the consumer business, as Insider’s Dakin Campbell has reported. Solomon’s hobby as a DJ and his use of the firm’s private jets have also rubbed some Goldman insiders the wrong way.

Critics have also pointed to a wave of partner departures, although Goldman has said that the turnover has not been unusual. Still, more than 85 partners have left the firm under Solomon.

All this has come against a global slowdown in dealmaking, which has led to staff reductions including, according to a recent Bloomberg report, 125 managing directors worldwide.

A Goldman representative declined to comment on the Bloomberg report.

At Goldman, Montag was big in Japan

Montag bleeds Goldman blue. He was with the firm for 22 years, leaving as a co-head of the global securities business in 2007. He was named a partner in 1994, when Goldman was still a private partnership, not a publicly traded corporation. He joined the firm’s management committee in 2002. 

Montag once led Goldman’s operations in Japan and during that time was that nation’s largest individual taxpayer, according to Reuters.

At Bank of America, Montag led the global banking and markets division, and was instrumental in the merger of Merrill Lynch and Bank America that remade the bank after the financial crisis. 

At the time of his 2021 departure, Insider’s Alex Morrell wrote: 

Though a divisive figure who inspired intense loyalty among some and loathing among others, Montag is widely recognized as a gifted and intelligent bank executive. Charming, beloved by clients, and commercially savvy, he guided the firm’s investment bank to stability and profitability following the chaos of the financial crisis. In addition to a magnetic personality, he relishes the details and minutiae of his operations and is known to spend hours discussing specific trades with employees. 

How divisive Montag can be was revealed in a 2021 report by Kate Kelly of The New York Times that was published months before his departure. 

As the COVID pandemic raged in spring of 2020, Montag initially pressed staffers in the markets division to be in the office despite stay-at-home orders, the Times reported.  The article portrayed Montag as having a hard-driving leadership style and a tendency to play favorites.

Since leaving BofA, Montag has headed up Rubicon Carbon, a carbon credit business. Private-equity firm TPG invested $300 million in the new firm, “one of the private sector’s largest efforts to expand the roughly $2 billion market for voluntary carbon credits that companies buy to offset their carbon emissions,” the Wall Street Journal reported late last year.

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