Alireza and Ryan join Goldman's management committee

Their appointments will double the number of Asia-based executives on the global management committee and come as the two partners are also named co-presidents for Asia ex-Japan.

Goldman Sachs confirmed yesterday that it has expanded its top leadership in Asia by appointing two co-presidents for Asia ex-Japan, who will take on the day-to-day responsibility for the firm’s businesses in the region. Assuming the two new roles are Yusuf Alireza, head of Goldman’s securities division in Asia (including Japan), and David Ryan, who is co-head of the investment banking division (IBD) in Asia ex-Japan and chairman of Southeast Asia.

And in a further development, which is a clear nod to the importance of Asia for the bank’s overall franchise, Alireza and Ryan will both become members of Goldman’s global management committee. This will double the number of Asia-based representatives on the committee to four from two and will increase the number of committee members to 32. The other Asia-based members on the committee are Asia chairman Michael Evans and Japan president Masanori Mochida.

The appointments come in connection with the promotion of Evans to global head of growth markets – a role that will put him in charge of Goldman’s emerging markets business globally. While he will continue in his role as Asia chairman, it is clear that his new job will require him to spend more time outside the region and hence the appointment of two co-presidents to back him up and help drive the US bank’s continued expansion across divisions in Asia. Evan’s expanded role will put him one step closer to the top job at the bank, which would be in line with speculation by some people outside Goldman that he is being groomed to take over as CEO from Lloyd Blankfein, who is also the firm’s chairman. The promotion of Evans and the appointment of Alireza and Ryan as co-presidents were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Alireza and Ryan will retain their existing roles at the bank, while taking on the added responsibilities as co-presidents and members of the management committee. An internal memo announcing the appointments, stressed that as opportunities expand in the region Goldman will “continue to invest in [its] people to grow the leadership necessary to support [its] growing client franchise.” The memo was signed by Evans, Blankfein and Gary Cohn, the bank’s president and chief operating officer.

Goldman doesn’t provide a breakdown of earnings for Asia, but in the memo it noted that the region includes many growth markets that are “critical” to the firm’s global strategy. In the past year, Goldman has made notable strides in its primary equities business in Asia, with several high-profile hires, a focus on a broader potential client base and a stated strategy to become more aggressive about winning block trades. In December, FinanceAsia awarded the firm as the Best Equity House and the Best Investment Bank in Asia ex-Japan in 2010. The US bank topped the league tables in the region for equity capital markets and G3 corporate investment grade bonds and ranked third on announced M&A.

Singapore-based Ryan has been co-head of IBD in the region since April last year, when he returned to investment banking after a bit more than two years as chairman for Southeast Asia, during which his main focus was to ensure an effective cross-divisional coordination across all the firm’s activities in the Southeast Asian markets. As chairman – a role he still retains -- he oversees the asset management, private banking, wealth management and commodities businesses in this region.

Ryan replaced Ravi Sinha as co-head of IBD alongside Beijing-based Mark Machin when Sinha retired from the bank after just two years in Asia. Sinha is now an advisory director to the bank. Ryan came to Asia in 2005 to become head of the financing group for Asia ex-Japan, having joined Goldman in the US in 1992 as a financial analyst in the investment banking division. He was named a managing director in 2001 and a partner in 2004.

Alireza has had a similar career trajectory at the firm. He joined Goldman in 1992, in the fixed income industry research group in New York and made partner in 2004. After a couple of years in research, he transferred to fixed income sales and in 1997, moved to hedge fund sales in London. According to the memo, he became head of the European funds sales efforts in 2000, and in 2004, took over leadership for all fixed-income and FX sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). He moved to Hong Kong in 2008 to take up his current role as head of the securities division, which is the division responsible for sales, trading and investments in fixed-income and equity products, currencies, commodities and derivatives, as well as market-making in equities and options. This is also the part of the bank that is responsible for proprietary positions in these products.

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