Goldman Dees

Goldman Asia banker Dan Dees heads back to US

Goldman’s co-head of investment banking in Asia-Pacific ex-Japan is heading back to the US to take up a global role, according to people familiar with the matter.
Dan Dees

Daniel Dees, one of Goldman Sachs’s most senior bankers in Asia, is returning to the US, according to people familiar with the matter.

The move will be the latest in series of high-profile relocations affecting the US investment bank’s business in the region.

Dees, 43, remains in Hong Kong for now and it is still unclear when exactly he will move to the US. Sources say it will most likely happen within the next two to six months. His wife and five children are already back in the US.

Dees, who is from the Midwestern state of Missouri, has spent about a decade in Asia, initially in Tokyo where he was head of the Japan financing group and, since the end of 2007, in Hong Kong.

In addition to his current day-to-day job as co-head of investment banking for Asia-Pacific ex-Japan, he is also chairman of the financing group in Japan

During the past year and a half, Goldman has rebalanced its Asian investment banking business along product lines, strengthening its derivatives, credit and M&A teams, as Hong Kong’s IPO machine faltered. 

The bank ranked third, behind UBS and JP Morgan, in terms of investment banking revenues across Asia-Pacific ex-Japan for the first nine months this year; up from seventh in the same period last year, according to data from Dealogic.

Revolving doors
Goldman’s Asian business has seen some high-profile comings and goings of late. David Ryan, president for Asia ex-Japan, announced his retirement from the bank in July and formally left last week. The New York firm flew in Ken Hitchner, a senior investment banker (and former navy fighter pilot), to replace him.

Ryan is the same age as Dees and, interestingly, the two of them joined Goldman in New York on the same day back in August 1992. They have also had a similarly rapid rise through the ranks of the firm.

Earlier this year, Goldman poached Kate Richdale, one of Asia’s most senior investment bankers, from Wall Street rival Morgan Stanley. She joined Goldman as a partner in June and is assuming the title of head of investment banking services for Asia ex-Japan.

In June 2012, Goldman brought back Mark Schwartz to be its Asia-Pacific chairman based in Beijing after Michael Evans moved to New York to become global head of growth markets. However, a couple of weeks ago Goldman said that Evans, who is also a vice-chairman of the firm, will retire at the end of this year after more than 20 years with the firm.

Also in mid-2012, Jin-Yong Cai left to work for the World Bank. Cai managed Goldman's China investment banking franchise and was also the chief executive of the firm’s China securities joint venture Goldman Sachs Gao Hua.

In December 2011, Mark Machin, Goldman’s regional vice-chairman, left to join the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board as president for Asia-Pacific after 20 years with the US investment bank. And a month earlier, co-president of Asia ex-Japan Yusuf Alireza left after 19 years to join Singapore-listed commodities firm Noble Group.

Rumours that Dees was planning an internal move to the US have been circulating in investment banking circles since at least July. Since then, Goldman has crystallised his career path and the transition, said a person familiar with the matter. It is not known exactly what his new role will be, but sources say it is a global job that is likely to bring him back to China and Asia relatively frequently.

However, due to a number of moving parts, a public announcement is not expected to be imminent.

It also remains unclear whether Dees will be replaced in Asia, or whether his co-head of investment banking, Matthew Westerman, will fly solo in the role.

Dees’ first job when he joined Goldman in New York in 1992 was in the corporate finance group. He then moved to the capital markets department in 1994. Around the same time he did an initial stint in Hong Kong for about one year.

Since then, Dees has had a number of key responsibilities within capital markets, including his work with private equity clients in New York in the mid-1990s, Goldman’s own IPO that occupied the firm from 1998 to 1999 and his role as head of the Japanese financing group in Tokyo from 2004 to 2007.

Before taking on his current role as co-head of investment banking for Asia-Pacific ex-Japan in February 2012, Dees was head of Goldman’s financing group in Asia-Pacific.

He was named managing director in 2001 and partner in 2004. Dees earned a BA in economics from Duke University in 1992.

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