6 Notable Goldman Sachs Alums (Who Made Their Mark Elsewhere)

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When Goldman Sachs received Fed approval to become a bank holding company, it ended the stalwart firm's run as an investment bank and foretold a new corporate direction. While a staggering amount of money has passed through Goldman's hands since its founding in 1869, many notable people have made their marks (and their fortunes) while passing through the firm's ranks. Here are a few alums you might not have realized had Goldman Sachs on their resumes.

1. Stuart Sternberg

The Tampa Bay Rays just made the World Series thanks to their brilliant defense and a dazzling pitching performance by Matt Garza, but one could argue that none of this season's magic could have happened without principal owner Stuart Sternberg, who took over executive control of the woeful team in 2005. Sternberg immediately cleaned house and let smart baseball thinkers lay the groundwork for this season's run. Of course he's a shrewd manager who knows that it may take a few years for a smart investment to mature; Sternberg enjoyed a 24-year career in finance before retiring as a partner at Goldman in 2002. When he took over the Rays, he needed a new president for the team, and he didn't have to look past the Goldman partner who helped him arrange his purchase of the team, Matthew Silverman. Silverman, who formerly worked in Goldman's Merchant Banking Division and Firmwide Strategy Group, now controls the day-to-day operations of baseball's biggest surprise.

2. Jim Cramer

Jim-Cramer.jpgIf you're a fan of financial-talk television or just enjoy seeing someone stalk around a TV set while apparently coping with the early symptoms of rabies, you've probably watched an episode or two of Jim Cramer's Mad Money. Obviously Cramer's a really sharp guy behind all of his bluster, but it's surprising how interesting his life's been. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard, he worked as a journalist, where one of his assignments saw him report on a murderous rampage by infamous serial killer Ted Bundy. He then went to Harvard Law School before getting a job as a broker at Goldman. Cramer used the expertise he gathered at Goldman to launch his own hedge fund, and he later founded TheStreet.com before eventually jumping to TV fame. As you might expect, Cramer's not the only Goldman alum to find a niche on TV; CNBC personality Erin Burnett also spent time with the firm.

3. Charlie Haas

haas.jpgGoldman's alums haven't all gone on to become leaders in the corporate world, though. Some have taken up high positions in the tail-kicking industry, especially Charlie Haas. Haas was a decorated amateur wrestler at Seton Hall, where he won two Big East championships, but after college, he did the responsible thing and got a job working as a stockbroker for Goldman Sachs. He still had the itch to do some wrasslin', though, so he eventually started working some independent shows with his brother, Russ. It's unclear how skilled Haas was as a broker, but he showed some real merit as a grappler. He eventually made it up to the WWE in 2002, and he's won the WWE Tag Team Championship three times. Despite following a wildly divergent career path from the one he started on after college, Haas has maintained a bit of business-world flavor in his matches: one of his signature moves is a lifting reverse DDT he calls the "Haastile Takeover."

4. Josh Bolten

boltenrove.jpgThe White House Chief of Staff is sometimes referred to as the second-most powerful man in Washington, and Bolten currently holds the title. After graduating from Princeton and then going to Stanford Law School, he passed through a number of high-level jobs, including International Trade Counsel to the Senate Finance Committee, private law practice, and even a one-semester stint teaching international trade at Yale Law School. From 1994 to 1999, though, he was a Goldman man. He served as the Executive Director, Legal & Government Affairs for Goldman Sachs International in London.

5. Ashwin Navin

ashwin_navin.jpgOne doesn't usually associate high finance with downloading albums and movies, but Navin was able to use his own financial expertise to help make the BitTorrent protocol become one of the Internet's most popular content distribution avenues. After his 1999 graduation from Claremont McKenna, Navin worked as a banker and analyst for Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch before going to Yahoo! in 2002. In 2004, he linked up with BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen to start BitTorrent, Inc. While serving as the company's president, Navin has been able to strengthen BitTorrent's position by working directly with movie studios and other content creators who generally don't work with file-sharing powerhouses.

6. Jon Corzine

Corzine.jpgCorzine is a former Democratic Senator and the current Governor of New Jersey, but he's possibly most famous for suffering serious injuries in a 2007 accident involving his motorcade. (Although Corzine made the questionable decision not to wear a seat belt, he turned his bad judgment into a memorable public service announcement for seat belt use. He opened with the line, "I'm New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, and I should be dead.") Before he entered the political realm, though, Corzine was a big name in finance. He went to work for Goldman in 1975, and by 1994 he'd risen to the position of Chairman and co-CEO of the company. When Goldman went public after Corzine left the company, the future governor's stake in the firm was worth $400 million. Why did Corzine leave in the first place, then? He was apparently pushed out following clashes with his co-CEO, another famous Goldman alum: current United States Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson.

See also...

A Brief History of Stadium Naming Rights
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Famous Not-So-American Brands
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October 21, 2008 - 6:31am
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