Goldman Sachs's Casturo to Depart After Commodities Slump

Updated on
  • COO and several other traders to leave struggling unit
  • Bank had its worst year on record in natural resources

Don Casturo, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s chief operating officer for commodities, and several other traders from the struggling unit are leaving the bank after the natural resources business had its worst year on record.

Casturo, who took the role last year after working as head of commodities trading in Europe, is retiring after 20 years with Goldman, according to a memo seen by Bloomberg News and confirmed by the bank. His departure follows that of commodities head Greg Agran last year.

Other departures include Saad Usmani, a managing director trading oil in London, and vice presidents in the commodities unit Rahul Dhir and Will Evans, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. Evans will join Citadel LLC in April as commodities COO and be based in Chicago, spokesman Zia Ahmed said Wednesday in an emailed statement.

Goldman, for decades Wall Street’s dominant commodity trader, last year suffered the worst annual commodities performance in its history as a public company with a drop of about 75 percent in net revenue, dragged down by losses in gas and power. The poor commodities performance was the largest single driver of a 30 percent slide in the bank’s fixed-income, currency and commodity net revenue, Chief Financial Officer Marty Chavez told investors, and has triggered an internal review led by securities co-head Isabelle Ealet.

‘Right People’

Casturo previously served as head of oil derivatives trading and investor products trading, according to the memo. He was named partner in 2010.

Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman’s chief executive, has stuck with the commodities unit -- where he worked early in his own career -- in spite of its weak results. The bank has made at least seven new hires to the unit in the past few months, and is pushing investment bankers to use their relationships with natural resources companies to help drive business.

Blankfein told Bloomberg Television last week that the bank had "the right people" running the bank’s fixed-income business. “Here or there we may have somebody where we could find somebody better," he added.

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