James Del Favero, one of Wall Street’s most experienced rain-makers, is leaving Goldman Sachs Group Inc. after a career spanning 27 years and more than 6,000 deals.
Del Favero, who joined the New York-based bank in 1989 and is head of cross-border mergers and acquisitions, as well as chairman of its fairness committee, will retire at the end of June, according to an internal memo seen by Bloomberg News.
The 55-year-old’s resume includes work on some of the largest deals of the past three decades, including the combination of British American Tobacco Plc’s U.S. tobacco business with RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. to form Reynolds American, and the sale of American Water Works Co. to RWE AG. Del Favero is also a longtime adviser to some of the world’s largest automakers, including General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. He also worked on General Electric Co.’s agreement to sell its appliance unit to Haier Group’s Qingdao Haier Co., which closed this week.
“James has been instrumental in shaping and defining the firm’s M&A franchise, particularly in developing our cross-border business, formalizing our fairness process and enhancing M&A training,” according to the memo, the contents of which were confirmed by a spokesman for the bank. “He has been a trusted advisor to many clients across industries and regions and has played a central role in many innovative and complex transactions.”
The memo was signed by Richard Gnodde, David Solomon and John Waldron.
An Australian citizen, Del Favero trained as a nuclear engineer and worked for Schlumberger Ltd., the Boston Consulting Group Inc. and First Boston Corp. before joining Goldman Sachs. He serves on the board of directors of the Council for the U.S. and Italy.
The decision to leave the firm comes amid a drop off in M&A activity on the back of a record year in 2015. The slowdown has already precipitated job cuts at Wall Street banks, including Goldman Sachs, and is expected to lead to more staff reductions later this year. Del Favero’s decision to leave the bank is unconnected to those job cuts, according to people familiar with the matter.
Goldman Sachs is the No. 1 adviser on M&A transactions this year, working on 115 deals with a total value of more than $374 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
(A previous version of this story corrected Fiat’s name in the third paragraph.)