Gregg Lemkau, co-head of Goldman Sachs investment banking, is leaving to run MSD Partners, the $15 billion investment firm that grew out of Michael Dell's family office.
Mr. Lemkau will join as chief executive officer in February, MSD Partners said in a statement Monday. Goldman trading co-head Jim Esposito will replace Mr. Lemkau as co-head of investment banking, the bank said in a memo to staff.
Mr. Lemkau, 51, was one of the firm's most visible dealmakers, having spent his entire career at Goldman Sachs over nearly 30 years. He rose to prominence through guiding health care and technology deals and had been leading the investment-banking division for the last three years.
He has been a constant presence in some of Goldman's biggest deals — ones that happened and ones that eager CEOs only dreamed about. Mr. Lemkau visited Elon Musk's house in California as the maverick Tesla chief scrambled to cobble together a deal that would take his electric vehicle firm private at $420 a share in 2018.
He has also advised Michael Dell on acquisitions, helping the founder and CEO of Dell Inc. build a fortune that's grown to about $37 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Mr. Lemkau will work alongside MSD Chief Investment Officer John Phelan, the firm said. Glenn Fuhrman and Mr. Phelan, also former Goldman executives, formed MSD Capital in 1998 as the exclusive investment vehicle for Dell, the founder of the namesake computer-maker, and his family. They created MSD Partners in 2009 to allow external investors to access some of the strategies developed by MSD Capital. Mr. Fuhrman stepped down from his executive role at the end of last year.
The firm focuses on credit, private equity, real estate and public equity investing and Mr. Lemkau will be tasked with building on those areas and expanding into new business lines. The firm's real estate deals include buying the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Florida from Blackstone Group, while its private equity group realized gains from an investment in mixed martial arts league Ultimate Fighting Championship. It has been raising new client funds during the pandemic.
Under David Solomon's tenure as Goldman CEO over the last two years, the New York-based firm had seen several senior partners exit, especially those with close ties to the firm's previous leadership. But most of the prominent names were from its trading group and other parts of the firm. Mr. Lemkau marks the most prominent exit from the investment banking side of the business in over two years.
The firm's investment banking group has long led Wall Street league tables and is on pace this year to break the annual revenue record it set in 2018. The unit's revenue jumped 23% in the first nine months of the year to $6.8 billion.
His replacement, Mr. Esposito, was hand-picked by Solomon to help run Goldman's trading operations, citing his ability to cultivate client relations. Mr. Esposito now will be returning to the group where he has spent most of his time at Goldman Sachs. He will continue to be based in London.