Goldman Sachs' Edith Cooper to Leave Firm--Update

By Liz Hoffman Features Dow Jones Newswires

Edith Cooper, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s head of human resources and one of the highest-ranking black women on Wall Street, is leaving the firm at the end of the year, according to an internal memo.

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In her nine years overseeing Goldman's workforce, Ms. Cooper managed huge changes in recruiting and compensation as Goldman sought to refine its sharper edges and grappled with the fallout of the financial crisis.

Her next step isn't clear, though many associates expect it to be in academia -- she has been an advocate for diversity in higher education and campus recruiting -- or in Silicon Valley, where several highflying startups are hoping for a cultural reboot.

She will remain a senior director at Goldman after Jan. 1, according to the memo, which signals she isn't heading to a competitor.

Ms. Cooper once planned a career in fashion, imagining a boutique on Madison Ave., but instead joined Bankers Trust in 1986 out of business school. Ten years and three children later, she came to Goldman in securities sales and rose quickly, becoming a managing director in 1998 and partner two years after that. Like many of Goldman's current top executives, she comes from its J. Aron commodities-trading arm.

In her current role, which she has held since 2008, Ms. Cooper has overseen a revamp in how Goldman recruits and manages its 34,000 employees.

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The firm recently began accepting video submissions from college applicants, aiming to broaden its recruiting reach beyond elite schools in an attempt to hire a more diverse workforce. It has also done away with end-of-year numerical scorings in favor of more constant, qualitative feedback.

Ms. Cooper has spoken about her experiences as a black woman in finance, not all of them positive. "I've been questioned about whether I really went to Harvard (I did) or how I got in (I applied)," she wrote last year in an essay for LinkedIn. "I've been asked to serve the coffee at a client meeting (despite being there to 'run' the meeting)."

She will remain through the end of the year, long enough to oversee the promotion of a new class of managing directors, a biannual Goldman tradition.

Ms. Cooper will be succeeded by Dane Holmes, Goldman's head of investor relations since 2007 and head of Goldman's internal talent-development academy, known as Pine Street.

His role will be filled by Heather Miner, a longtime investor-relations executive.

Write to Liz Hoffman at liz.hoffman@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 11, 2017 19:44 ET (23:44 GMT)