Goldman Sachs’s Top Woman Banker Stephanie Cohen Is Leaving After 25 Years

Cohen, once a CEO hopeful, is leaving for the cloud service provider Cloudflare.

Stephanie Cohen attending the 2018 New York Times Dealbook Summit.
Stephanie Cohen speaks during the 2018 New York Times Dealbook Summit. Michael Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times

Stephanie Cohen, one of the few female top executives at Goldman Sachs (GS), is leaving the investment bank after a 25-year career in banking, The Wall Street Journal first reported today (March 18). She will join Cloudflare, a cloud service provider which Goldman Sachs took public in 2019, as its first chief strategy officer.

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Cohen, who leads Goldman Sachs’s Platform Solutions unit, which includes many of the bank’s consumer-lending businesses, has been on personal leave since June 2023, the Journal previously reported.

Cohen, 46, joined Goldman Sachs in 1999 as an analyst after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She worked her way up in Goldman’s investment banking division to managing director in 2008 and was named partner in 2014. During that time period, Cohen worked on historic corporate deals, including Chrysler’s repayment of a U.S. government loan in the aftermath of the 2008 Financial Crisis. 

Cohen was named Goldman’s chief strategy officer in 2017. And the next year, she was picked by CEO David Solomon as a member of Goldman’s 33-person management committee. She was one of seven women on the top decision-making team and was 10 years younger than the average man in the group. That committee has been downsized to 25 people. 

“There weren’t a lot of investment bankers that looked like me. When I walked into a board room, they’d expect a very tall man, but instead they’d get a relatively short woman,” Cohen said at a 2018 event in New York reported by Observer. “You can use that as something that bothers you, or you can use that as a point of differentiation. For example, one of the things I learned early on was that when I was on big conference calls with lots of people, everyone would know when I spoke because I was the only woman.”

In late 2020, Cohen was tapped to co-head Goldman’s consumer and wealth management division, which was merged into Platform Solutions in 2022 after a reorganization. Products under her unit include Goldman’s credit card partnerships with Apple and General Motors.

Cohen is the latest in a string of female senior bankers who have left Goldman in recent years for better opportunities elsewhere. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis published last week, two-thirds of the women who were partners at the bank at the end of 2018 have left the firm or no longer have the title.

Goldman Sachs’s Top Woman Banker Stephanie Cohen Is Leaving After 25 Years