- Dobkin founded the equity capital-markets division in 1985
- Goldman has become the leading underwriter of IPOs globally
Eric Dobkin, who spent 49 years at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., will retire after spearheading some of the world’s biggest initial public offerings, including the bank’s own.
Dobkin, 73, will become a senior director, according to a memo sent to employees Wednesday by Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein and President Gary Cohn. Dobkin was a partner before the New York-based firm went public in 1999. He founded Goldman Sachs’s equity capital-markets division in 1985, and helped the firm become the leading underwriter on IPOs globally.
Dobkin’s most memorable deals include the privatization of British companies in the 1980s, which helped make the IPO market attractive to investors globally, he said in a phone interview. He stepped down as partner in 1998, after helping take public some of the world’s largest companies, including Microsoft Corp. and Deutsche Telekom AG. The bank’s more recent offerings include Tesla Motors Inc. in 2010 and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s record-breaking $25 billion deal in 2014.
“I have a sign on my desk that somebody gave me back in the 70s, and it says there are two sides to every transaction,” Dobkin said. “You can’t do something where one side like an issuer wins, and the investors don’t. There has to be a middle where the investor and the issuer come out in good stead.”
He said the biggest difference between IPOs in the 1980s and today is the expanded relationship with institutional investors such as Fidelity Investments and T. Rowe Price Group Inc. The “secret sauce,” he said, was for companies to create a relationship that maintains itself over a long period of time. Those same shareholders have now become more active in private deals, especially for young companies that previously only were funded by venture capital.
“Eric’s passion, creativity, market judgment and trusted advice have helped the firm and our clients tremendously,” Blankfein and Cohn said in the memo. “Eric has also been a mentor and friend to countless leaders across the firm and the industry.”
The New York Times reported Dobkin’s retirement earlier Wednesday.
Dobkin joined the bank in 1967 in Philadelphia and transferred to Chicago in 1973 to head institutional equities sales, according to the memo. He moved to New York in 1979 to lead the restricted stock group before founding the ECM division.
Dobkin is also an avid philanthropist, and his wife Barbara is a big supporter of the American Jewish World Service. The two are trustees of the Dobkin Family Foundation. He received a bachelor’s degree from Marietta College and a master’s from Harvard University. Dobkin has one more “big gig” left, both in business and in philanthropy, he said, adding that he doesn’t have anything definitive lined up yet.
“Goldman Sachs was a very special place for me,” he said. “What I am most proud of is that I have had the great privilege of mentoring hundreds of people at Goldman Sachs in the couple of generations beneath me.”