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Goldman Sachs' $100m trader might struggle to find joy elsewhere

Edward Emerson is leaving Goldman Sachs aged 47. It's been a good run. Isabelle Ealet, the longstanding queen of Goldman's commodities business, left in 2018 after some bad years and Emerson (who'd been at Goldman since 1999 and appears to have been based at West Palm Beach) was promoted as her successor along with Jeremy Taylor. Taylor then left in 2019, leaving Emerson to cash in on the rewards of leading Goldman's commodities business through another golden era.

The Emerson era was golden indeed. Since 2020, Bloomberg says Goldman paid him $100m, helped along by the fact that last year alone, Goldman's commodities business earned $3bn. This year, things don't seem so fine: Goldman said its revenues were "significantly lower" in the third quarter. 

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The changing tide might have given Goldman permission to nudge expensive Emerson into retirement in the same way as it did his predecessor. It probably doesn't help that he was reportedly critical of CEO David Solomon, who's allegedly becoming even less tolerant of grumbling partners than before. 

Whether Emerson will find - or will want to find a new $100m seat - is open to question, though. The big jobs at the best hedge funds are already filled: Millennium already hired itself Anthony Dewell from Goldman last year and Jeff Katz from JPMorgan in 2021; Citadel already has a head of commodities in the form of Sebastian Barack, who joined from Macquarie six years ago. Jain Global is already understood to have a commodities head, although it's not clear who. 

Of course, Emerson may not want to work after earning $33m a year for three years. He could simply retreat to his $16m Palm Beach home. Or he could do something quiet, like run a SPAC, which is what Ealet went into. She spent the past few years chairing Pegasus Acquisition Co Europe BV, the SPAC founded by Jean Pierre Mustier and Diego De Giorgi. However, Pegasus returned money to shareholders in April after failing to find any deals.

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Photo by Richard Sagredo on Unsplash

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Ex
    13 December 2023

    Not many places will allow the drawdowns that the GS commods desk had on the way to making the $$$bn

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