Why Goldman Sachs recruited an Uber exec to run Marcus
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May 18, 2021
Financial ServicesFinance
Executive Summary
Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Robert Voth​ talks about the growing pains startups occur as they become more successful.

American Banker

The American Banker article, "Why Goldman Sachs recruited an Uber exec to run Marcus," quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Robert Voth​ on the growing pains that can occur as startups become more successful. The article is excerpted below. 

For years, financial services firms have said they want their apps to be as intuitive as Uber's ride-hailing app. 

Nahar spent 14 years at Amazon, where he led technology teams working on its business-to-business marketplace, Amazon Lending and the machine learning platform for Alexa. Before that he had operations roles at Delphi, a technology startup that spun off from General Motors. 

He joins Marcus at a time of high turnover for the unit, which at the end of March had about $8 billion of loan balances and about $100 billion of deposits. Observers say the mix of startup and big tech company experience he brings to the group is just what this digital-bank-within-a-bank needs to reach Goldman executives' goal of increasing deposits to $125 billlion and more doubling the loan portfolio by 2024. 

“His appointment won't necessarily make up immediately for the high turnover, but he is a solid, proven hand to build a next generation of products and culture at Goldman at a time when they seem open to redefining parts of their culture,” said Robert Voth, managing director at Russell Reynolds Associates, an executive search and advisory firm in New York. 

“It is immensely difficult to incubate a long-term, successful startup inside a large-scale, venerable, conservative institution,” Voth said. “It's just hard. At some point, there will be areas where the path forks and the institution says, we appreciate what you've done, but this is us. And the startup will say, we appreciate the support you've given us, but this is who we're becoming.” 

Voth said Marcus is still evolving and that its growing pains are similar to those of a teenager. “From a parenting standpoint, it's growing, it's finding success and it's finding its way,” he said. “And while everyone still does love each other, you will have instances where people just don't agree. And that's where they are now.” 

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