(Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Kathy Elsesser is exiting her senior perch at the Wall Street firm after a more than 30-year run.
Elsesser, 56, was the chair of the consumer retail and health-care banking group. She joined Goldman Sachs in 1989 after graduating from Boston College. The veteran banker thought it would be a pit stop that would bring her to New York while she applied to law schools. But after briefly leaving to attend business school, she spent the rest of her career at the Wall Street titan.
She was also a driving force behind a piece of modern investment-banking lore at the firm. She showed up with a team — including then-banking head, now Chief Executive Officer David Solomon — in Lululemon gear to win the mandate for the activewear retailer’s 2007 IPO. The Goldman crew even wrote down their personal and professional goals as employees at Lululemon headquarters were urged to do.
“It stands out in my mind as one of the seminal moments,” said Rob Sweeney, a longtime colleague of Elsesser who also donned workout gear for the Lululemon pitch. “It’s not what you expect from a group of Goldman Sachs bankers,” said Sweeney, who’s now the president of private equity firm Sycamore Partners.
Read More: Lululemon Gains Most Since 2020 on Robust Sales, Higher Guidance
Bankers can’t survive long at Goldman without being commercially effective, according to Sweeney. “Banking and Goldman in particular can be a cutthroat and competitive place,” he said, but Elsesser stood out because of her endearing nature and how “she humanized the role in a way that made her very effective.”
Wall Street dealmakers can go to great lengths to win business, and the hunt for lucrative fees forces them to cook up new ways to surprise prospective clients. Morgan Stanley’s star Silicon Valley banker, Michael Grimes, famously moonlighted as an Uber driver in the years before snagging the lead role in the ridesharing company’s IPO.
Elsesser’s retirement from Goldman was disclosed in a note to staff this week. A spokesperson for the New York-based firm declined to comment.
“What’s really important in consumer retail and marketing is understanding that it’s less about the actual item,” Elsesser recalled in a profile posted by her alma mater, Kellogg School of Management, citing the innovative approach to help land the Lululemon account. “It’s more about the connection with the consumer and how companies cultivate and create” that connection.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.