David Ryan, Goldman Sachs’s president for Asia ex-Japan, is retiring from the bank after just two years at the helm.
Ryan was something of a rising star within the bank and was clearly being groomed for a senior leadership position back in New York, having made partner at the age of just 34 in 2004, the same year he moved to Asia. He will retire by the end of this year, according to a statement from the bank.
“It’s not a decision the firm was thrilled about,” says a source at Goldman. “He’s clearly a world-class banker.”
As one source notes, Ryan was always the first in his cohort to win promotion. By 2008 he had become chairman for Southeast Asia, then head of investment banking for Asia ex-Japan in 2010 and Asia president just one year later, in February 2011.
He sat on the firm’s management committee, where he is said to have impressed the bank’s leadership, including Mark Schwartz, Goldman’s Asia chairman and its most senior banker in the region. He was also popular among his peers in equity capital markets, say people who worked with him before he headed into senior management.
Indeed, the bank has had to draw from its talent pool in New York to find a replacement, flying in Ken Hitchner, a senior investment banker (and former navy fighter pilot), to take on the role.
“We spend an extraordinary amount of time and effort nurturing homegrown talent, but we’re a global firm so importing expertise and seniority is a normal part of our business,” says a Goldman source.
Hitchner, who made partner in the class of 2002, is currently global head of healthcare banking and global co-head of technology, media and telecoms — the two biggest groups within Goldman’s investment banking division.
“Asia Pacific is critical to the firm’s global strategy and we remain committed to investing in this region to support our clients,” said Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman’s chairman and chief executive, in a statement.
Sources say that Ryan’s young family were an important part of his decision to return to the US after nine years in Asia. He has been based in Singapore since taking on the Southeast Asia job in 2008 but will see out the rest of his investment banking career in Hong Kong. At 43, he has the time to embark on an entirely new career outside investment banking, but not before taking a break first.
Hitchner is expected to spend some time in Hong Kong during the summer before relocating late in the year. He will take over a franchise that is in good shape, which is one of the reasons Ryan is comfortable leaving the bank. The bank has built out its business in India and China, as well as Southeast Asia, during the past few years. According to Dealogic, Goldman is ranked sixth in Asia ex-Japan investment banking revenues so far in 2013.