High-level portfolio shuffle at Goldman Sachs

Brooks Entwistle and Tim Leissner take on new responsibilities at Goldman Sachs in Singapore and Hong Kong respectively, resulting in an enhanced role for India-based Sonjoy Chatterjee and Vijay Karnani.
Tim Leissner
Tim Leissner

Goldman Sachs on Friday announced some senior internal transfers involving its offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Mumbai. Brooks Entwistle and Tim Leissner are entrusted with new portfolios, resulting in promotions for Sonjoy Chatterji and Vijay Karnani.

Brooks Entwistle is relocating to Singapore from Mumbai to become chairman and head of investment banking for Southeast Asia. Entwistle “will principally be responsible for continuing to drive our IBD [investment banking division] business”, said an internal memo that FinanceAsia has seen. Entwistle takes on David Ryan's old role. Ryan was promoted to co-head of IBD for Asia ex-Japan in April last year and became sole head in February this year. He is Singapore-based.

Goldman Sachs appointed Entwistle to head its India operations in 2006, when the bank set up independent operations after deciding to part ways with its joint venture partner Kotak Mahindra. Entwistle was named a partner at Goldman Sachs in 2008. He is widely credited with having forged an independent identity for Goldman Sachs in India during the past five years and has won mandates such as the recent sell-side mandate from Mukesh Ambani on the creation of a joint venture for Reliance Industries. However, India is a challenging market for investment banking fees, and Goldman Sachs and other international firms are struggling to create a meaningful revenue base in the country.

Sonjoy Chatterjee succeeds Entwistle as chairman for India, while Chatterjee and Vijay Karnani will become co-chief executive officers, overseeing the India franchise. Chatterjee will drive strategic direction in India and will also become chairman of the India operating committee. He joined the firm in 2010 as a partner and co-CEO, after a 16-year career at ICICI Bank, where he was most recently executive director. Karnani has been head of the securities business since 2009. This is a product line that is profitable for many investment banks in India. He was one of the first Goldman employees to join Entwistle in Mumbai in 2006. Like Chatterjee, he also became a partner in 2010.

The new India coverage structure is well thought-out and is something Goldman has been working towards for some time, said a source, who also termed the change a "natural progression". Goldman intended to create a bench of local talent in India. The fact that Chatterjee is new to the firm is balanced out by Karnani being a Goldman veteran who has been with the bank since 1998. Entwistle will be taking on his Singapore responsibilities shortly but expects to be shuttling back and forth to ensure a smooth India transition, added the source.

Meanwhile, Tim Leissner, who is currently co-president of Goldman Sachs Singapore and head of investment banking for Southeast Asia, will relocate from Singapore to Hong Kong. Leissner will “take up more senior coverage responsibilities across the region, consistent with his role as a member of the IBS [investment banking services] leadership group and will also play an important role in mentoring and developing the careers of our regional IBS bankers”, said the memo.

Leissner joined Goldman Sachs in 1998 and has been a partner since 2006. He moved to Singapore in 2002 to head investment banking and then moved back to Hong Kong. He moved back to Singapore in 2006 to fill a vacancy created by the promotion of Richard Ong to co-head of investment banking for Asia ex-Japan. Under Leissner's watch, Goldman Sachs has created a strong Southeast Asia franchise and has been present on a number of key mandates in the region.

Goldman created the IBS leadership group in January 2010 to focus on key clients, which the investment bank terms “franchise accounts”. In Asia, Fred Hu, who was chairman of Greater China, based in Hong Kong, and Leissner were named to the IBS group. Hu announced his retirement from Goldman Sachs just two months later in March.

The memo was signed by Michael Evans, who is Asia chairman and global head of growth markets, Yusuf Alireza, head of Goldman’s securities division in Asia, and Ryan. Evans was promoted to global head of growth markets in January, making him the head of Goldman’s emerging markets business globally. Soon thereafter Goldman appointed Alireza and Ryan co-presidents for Asia ex-Japan as well as giving them a seat on Goldman’s global management committee, of which Evans is already a member.

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