Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N)on Tuesday appointed Jacqueline Arthur, a 15-year veteran of the bank, to run human resources starting Jan. 1, the company told Reuters exclusively.
Arthur, 45, will take over from Bentley de Beyer, who has been the bank’s global head of human capital management since early 2020. Arthur currently serves as chief operating and strategy officer of the human resources division. She was previously deputy chief of staff and secretary to Goldman’s management committee and was formerly COO for its asset-management and consumer and wealth-management units.
Arthur will report to John Waldron, Goldman’s president and chief operating officer, and join the bank’s management committee. De Beyer will retire and become an advisory director at the start of next year.
The new human resources chief will take over during a period of upheaval in the financial industry, which is focused on the return to office, looming job cuts and diversity. Goldman Sachs has taken a harder line by calling employees back to its premises full time while its competitors have allowed — sometimes grudgingly — more flexibility.
The company is also opposing a 12-year-old class action lawsuit alleging widespread bias against women in pay and promotions, and revelations in a new memoir by a former managing director who said she was assaulted and faced misogyny at the firm before she left in 2016. A company spokesperson called the lawsuit’s claims “baseless” and said it strongly disagreed with the author’s characterization.
Goldman Sachs executives have said the company is restarting employee performance reviews that were paused during the pandemic, as the economic outlook darkens and the pace of deals slows. The annual exercise typically weeds out underperformers.
Arthur will also take the reins in HR at a time when gender inequality is being scrutinized at the bank. A Manhattan judge set a trial date for next June for a long-running class action by about 1,800 plaintiffs who accused Goldman of systematically paying women less than men, and giving women weaker performance reviews that impeded their career growth.
“Goldman Sachs is proud of its long record of promoting and supporting women, and we look forward to vigorously defending ourself against these baseless claims,” a Goldman Sachs spokesperson said last month after the judge set the trial date.
The conversation about gender at Goldman has been amplified by a new book, “Bully Market,” published by former managing director Jamie Fiore Higgins last month. In it, she recounts the sexism she experienced at the bank that included colleagues mooing at her when she left to pump breast milk. She also alleges a male employee assaulted her, pinning her neck to a wall.
“We strongly disagree with Ms. Higgins’ characterization of Goldman Sachs’ culture and these anonymized allegations,” a Goldman spokesperson said. “Had Ms. Higgins raised these allegations with our human resources department at the time we would have investigated them thoroughly and addressed them seriously. We have a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination or retaliation against employees reporting misconduct, and all claims are thoroughly investigated with discretion and sensitivity.”
The bank cited its progress on diversity. Goldman appointed the most diverse cohort of managing directors last year, while exceeding its diversity goals for junior analysts. It also set targets in 2020 to recruit more diverse talent, aiming for 40% of its vice presidents to be women by 2025. It set a goal of 7% Black professionals in the Americas and UK and 9% Hispanic or Latino professionals in the Americas in the same period.