Author: Rose

Robert Goldman: A Wall Street Banker’s Life

Robert Goldman: A Wall Street Banker’s Life

A Wall Street Banker Turned to Comedy for Happiness and a Career Change

When I first met Robert Goldman, he wasn’t your typical Wall Street banker. He wasn’t in his 50s, wearing a suit and a tie. He was a man in his late 30s, with a short buzz-cut and close-cropped hair. He had a few unkempt eyebrows and a beard. He wore a T-shirt and short-sleeved cotton shirt. He didn’t have money, I’d later learn. “I had to work hard for it,” he would later tell me when I met him at a coffee shop in New York City. He was the grandson of a German immigrant who’d become a New York City cab driver. But for the first decade of his professional life, Goldman was just another banker at Citicorp.

In the early 1990s, Goldman was a vice president at Citicorp Securities. He joined the bank’s trading desk in 1993, the year the subprime crisis started to spread rapidly across the U.S. economy. In 1999, Goldman was named to Citicorp’s board of directors, a position he would hold for four years. But by 2004, Goldman had been fired from the board and was in the process of leaving the bank, but on terms that he didn’t know. There were offers from three other banks, according to his then-girlfriend. One, Lehman Brothers, offered him $4,000 a week, while the other two – Morgan Stanley and Morgan Stanley Capital Group – offered him up to $2,000 a week, and $500 per month. (Morgan Stanley would eventually become the target of a series of high-profile scandals, including trading in pharmaceuticals and other products, and the massive trading loss that led to a $2.4 billion fine.) And a third offer from Bain Capital would provide him more than $1 billion to leave. So he turned down the job. He was offered a lucrative

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