Richard Ruzika, Ex-Goldman Commodities Trader, Dies at 53
Richard Ruzika, the former commodities chief at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., has died after a stroke following knee surgery last month. He was 53.
He died yesterday at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut, Joe Howley, his business partner and family spokesman, said in a telephone interview. He had been in intensive care since April 22 when a blood clot caused the stroke, three days after surgery on his left knee at Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut, Howley said.
Ruzika, who signed with the New York Jets in 1981 as a tight end and then quit during training camp, left Goldman Sachs in 2011 after almost 30 years with the New York-based bank. He was planning to start a hedge fund, Dublin Hill Capital in Greenwich, where he resided, with Howley and Lance Bakrow.
Ruzika was a “terrific people person, quite admired and affable and very approachable,” Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldman Sachs (GS)’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview. He was also “very smart and a very, very good business person and so he ran some of our most complex businesses.”
Blankfein said Ruzika was “the picture of health” the last time he saw him shortly before his stroke. “He looked 10 years younger than the previous time I’d seen him,” Blankfein said. He was “very healthy and working out and getting set for something other than what happened,” Blankfein said.
Goldman Sachs Career
Ruzika joined Goldman Sachs as a silver and gold trader in 1982, the same year that Blankfein began there as a gold salesman. Ruzika moved up the ranks becoming head of natural gas trading in 1996 and two years later helped start the bank’s electricity business, according to a February 2011 memo to employees announcing his departure. He was named a partner in 1998 and was picked as global head of commodities in 2000.
In 2006 Ruzika was named co-head of global macro trading before he was picked to run Goldman’s special situations group the following year. That group, which invests the firm’s own money, generated 9 percent, or $4.1 billion, of companywide revenue in 2007, according to an internal document. Ruzika was promoted to the bank’s management committee in 2008.
Thomas K. Montag, who spent 22 years at Goldman Sachs and is now co-chief operating officer at Bank of America Corp., said Ruzika was “everything you would want in a partner.”
He played football at Columbia University in Manhattan, where he was listed at 6-foot-6, 244 pounds his senior year, and graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. After signing with the Jets of the National Football League, he decided he no longer wanted to play and left training camp, according to a New York Times article at the time.
Ruzika stayed involved with Columbia. Last year the school said he gave $1 million toward a new sports center at the school’s athletics complex. In 2000 he endowed a scholarship fund. Ruzika also served on the Columbia College Board of Visitors and received the school’s John Jay Award for distinguished professional achievement in 2006.
Dublin Hill Capital suspended plans to start a hedge fund after Ruzika suffered the stroke. Dublin Hill had planned to trade a macro strategy, which seeks to profit from broad economic trends, with a focus on commodities.
Ruzika is survived by his wife, Ruthanne, two teenage children and an elder brother.
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